The Georgia Farm Bureau is reporting early estimates of agricultural losses caused by Hurricane Michael are starting to pour in from the University of Georgia and Georgia Forestry Commission. As one can imagine, the post-storm figures for the Peach State are sobering with numbers now approaching $3 billion.
Describing the devastation and loss of prominent crops, Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black stated the following in a Georgia Farm Bureau news update: “These are generational losses that are unprecedented, and it will take unprecedented ideas and actions to help our farm families and rural communities recover.”
Breaking Down Hurricane Michael’s Peach State Pummeling
- Timber: Approximately 1 million acres were destroyed, resulting in $1 billion in losses.
- Cotton: Estimated losses from Hurricane Michael range from $300 million to $800 million. The final loss estimate will be dependent on the ability to harvest what remains in the field.
- Pecans: Trees were either blown over or broken, resulting in an estimated $560 million-dollar loss. The damages will have a generational impact since it takes about seven years for a tree to begin producing marketable pecans.
- Specialty Crops: A wide variety of produce, including sweet corn, cucumbers, squash, peppers, tomatoes, and peas, suffered an estimated $480 million loss.
- Poultry: Estimated a $25 million hit, 97 chicken houses and well more than 2 million chickens were lost.
- Peanuts: Estimates for peanut losses range from $10 to $20 million, with the final loss estimate still to be determined.
“The meter started at $1 billion and jumped quickly to nearly $3 billion,” Black concluded. “Unfortunately, we are not quite sure where it is going to stop.”