Florida suffered almost $1.5 billion in agriculture losses due to Hurricane Michael hitting the Panhandle last month, a new report from the state government finds.
On Friday, outgoing state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam announced that the timber industry suffered the overwhelming majority of agriculture losses from the hurricane as that sector lost $1.3 billion while other agriculture industries suffered almost $200 million.
“Hurricane Michael devastated the Florida Panhandle, and many of Florida’s rural communities, which rely heavily on agriculture, took the worst hit. As we continue to rebuild, we must prioritize rural economic development programs at the local, state and federal levels,” Putnam said on Friday.
According to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ preliminary report, the losses are as follows:
Total Florida agriculture: $1,481,843,193
Nurseries and Floriculture: $16,117,366
Poultry and Eggs: $10,026,000
Other Field Crops: $7,282,946
Tree Nuts (including pecans): $4,089,676
“This report summarizes estimated crop losses and total losses for each commodity group. Crop losses include: reduced agricultural sales due to wind or flood induced product losses, decreased yields, spoiled product, and dead livestock. Total losses include crop losses in addition to ancillary losses experienced by producers, such as: debris cleanup, additional feed or harvest costs, damage to land, infrastructure, and equipment,” the Florida Agriculture Department noted. “These estimates are based on data obtained from the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, the UF-IFAS Reports on crop damage from hurricane Michael, Timber Damage Estimates prepared by the Florida Forest Service, and individual assessment surveys the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services conducted with industry leaders and individual producers. These are early estimates and the total agricultural economic losses resulting from Hurricane Michael may change.”