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Irma Caused About $2.5 billion in Florida Agriculture Losses
USAgNet - 10/11/2017

Hurricane Irma slammed every aspect of Florida agriculture from citrus groves to cattle ranches to sugar cane fields and more causing more than $2.5 billion in damages, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam said.

"Florida agriculture took it on the chin as Hurricane Irma pummeled the state, and the $2.5 billion in agricultural damages is only an initial assessment," Putman said. "We're likely to see even greater economic losses as we account for loss of future production and the cost to rebuild infrastructure. We're going to do everything within our power to support Florida agriculture as it recovers from Hurricane Irma's devastation."

Hurricane Irma made landfall in the Florida Keys on Sept. 10 as a Category 4 hurricane, and then struck Southwest Florida as a Category 3 hurricane later that same day. Irma was the largest, most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean, and is among the strongest hurricanes ever to make direct landfall in the U.S.

Besides causing major devastation to coastal communities, Irma was large and powerful enough to cover the state, bringing hurricane and tropical storm conditions to every one of Florida's 67 counties. Hurricane Irma's path coincided with some of Florida's most productive agricultural landscapes, and consequently it caused major losses to all segments of production agriculture.

Putnam said he received innumerable calls from industry leaders across the state describing the overwhelming impacts this storm had on not only their current year crop losses, but the further devastation of damaged infrastructure: destroyed fences, shade structures, ground cover for row crops; uprooted or cracked trees and bushes, laid down sugarcane; and animals whose long-term welfare was impacted by the excessive wind and rain.

The citrus industry sustained the largest amount of damage, estimated at more than $760 million.

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