The agricultural community took a huge hit when Hurricane Irma tore through the southeast. Crops from south Florida up through Georgia were decimated by heavy rainfall and winds. Unfortunately for consumers, the impacts will be unavoidable across stores nationwide, as price of produce increases and availability of brands decreases.
One of the hardest hit crops in Georgia was the pecan crop. According to US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Irma may have destroyed up to 30% of the pecan crop in the state. One farm that was just weeks away from harvesting is having to completely start over and replant 4,000 pecan trees.
Vegetables of all types were badly hit too. The south Florida region is a major supplier of the crops for the country throughout winter, so a loss of this magnitude could be catastrophic. Luckily, there might still be time to replant some vegetable crops in time for the holiday season if the water recedes soon enough. Only time will tell if it will provide enough of a head start to get farmers back on their regular schedule.
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam confirmed that the citrus industry one of the most affected by Irma. In south Florida alone, the citrus crop has faced losses between 70-100%, and in central Florida, 30-40%. Because of this, shoppers can expect the price of orange juice to rise. Something else to expect to see in stores is an increase in foreign brands of fruits and vegetables, since the usual vendors may not be able to produce enough for nationwide distribution.
Irma’s relentless path of destruction destroyed trees, pastures, and greenhouses in Florida and Georgia. It’s hard to tell just how badly the storm will impact our country’s agriculture long-term, but for now, expect a temporary increase in price of all of the crops that took a hit.
Hear more about the decimation of Florida agriculture here: