Clements: Florida farmers and ranchers are assessing damages and starting the rebuilding process after Hurricane Irma devastated the state. G.B. Crawford of the Florida Farm Bureau says the state suffered an agricultural disaster that will cost farmers and ranchers billions.
Crawford: Our farm families are busy with the process of recovery and restoration, but that process will take weeks, months, and in some cases, years. There are no official reports on the overall destruction yet available, but the early estimates and anecdotal information that we have place the farm losses in the billions of dollars.
Clements: Crawford says the damages to Florida farms is extensive to all sectors of agriculture.
Crawford: Citrus growers tell us that 60 to 70 percent of the fruit was blown off the trees. Only ten percent of Florida’s fall vegetable crop was in the ground, but those plants that were in production, including tomatoes, were a total loss. Many cattle ranchers tell us that they cannot gather and care for their animals because flooding has simply isolated portions of their properties.
Clements: He says Florida agriculture will rebuild.
Crawford: Our farm families are just outstanding independent producers. They work hard, they help themselves, they help each other. I have no doubt that they will recondition Florida agriculture so that they will be producing food and fiber for Florida, for the nation and the world. We want to thank everyone in your communities for your thoughts and prayers. We appreciate your support and we thank you for your interest in Florida agriculture’s producers.
Clements: Relief efforts can be found on the Florida Farm Bureau website, www.ffbf.org. Micheal Clements, Washington.