Hurricane Ian ravages Florida agriculture
For farmers and ranchers in South Georgia, the scenes coming out of Florida in the wake of Hurricane Ian are all too familiar. Water everywhere. Trees down. Buildings demolished. Lives taken, uprooted and devastated.
According to Florida Farm Bureau Federation (FFBF), farmers and ranchers are facing widespread destruction of crops, buildings, fencing and other property loss due to substantial wind and water damage.
In areas of the citrus belt, significant fruit fell from trees. Not only has there been loss of human life, but livestock and dairy farms have been devastated by the storm. Even before the storm, Florida citrus production was expected to be down from the previous year, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service. The state’s orange production was forecast at 28 million boxes, down from 41.05 million boxes in the 2021-22 crop year, which would be a 32% decline. Florida grapefruit production was forecast at 2 million boxes, down 40% from the 21-22 crop of 3.33 million boxes. Tangerine production in Florida was forecast at 700,000 boxes, down from 750,000 boxes in 21-22.
Masses of honeybee colonies, submerged in water, are in distress. Bee pollination is critical to the livelihood of Florida’s crops.
Farmers and ranchers throughout the region are repairing greenhouses, structures, irrigation systems and other machinery and equipment.
Farmers as far north as St. Augustine are facing flooded vegetable fields. It will take days or weeks to assess the damage of Hurricane Ian. Many farm families are still cutting their way through downed trees and power lines and battling flooded roads and blown-out culverts to evaluate the damage.
The University of Florida is conducting an assessment survey to quantify the farm losses.
Florida Farm Bureau has created a hurricane relief fund that will assist Florida farmers and ranchers affected by Hurricane Ian.
The Hurricane Ian Relief Fund for Agriculture will provide support for farm families statewide who have experienced a Hurricane Ian-inflicted agricultural-loss. All donations will be tax deductible.
Donors can make checks payable to:
Florida Farm Bureau Women’s Fund
Memo: Hurricane Ian Relief Fund for Agriculture
P.O. Box 147030 Gainesville, FL 32614
Online donations to the Hurricane Relief Fund can be made here.
For more information, contact email@example.com.