Hurricane Idalia caused between $80 million and $370 million in agriculture damages

From Fox 13 News | 22 September 2023

Overview of strawberries from Florida in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on September 21, 2023.

One-third of Florida‘s farmland was damaged by Hurricane Idalia, causing anywhere between $80 million and $370 million worth of damage, a new report by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences said.

“We’re trying to get these communities back into production since they’ve been so significantly impacted,” said Dr. Christa Court, who helped compile the report.

Pictures submitted by farmers to UF analysts show torn up crop beds, flipped over barns and destroyed equipment.

3.3 million of Florida’s 9.7 million acres of agricultural land were impacted, with 177,000 acres crushed by Category 3 winds and 3.1 million acres nailed by tropical storm force winds.

Growers of citrus, fruit, row crops, greenhouses and animals are dealing with lost equipment and buildings.

“Any kind of delays to production due to infrastructure damage are not yet clear,” said Dr. Court. “There’s a lot of uncertainty around those.”

The state agriculture commissioner is unveiling a program to reimburse farmers for three quarters of any irrigation equipment that is uninsured.

By providing grants of up to $150,000 grants, the hope is to get growers back on their feet.

“Some of these were disrupted right in the middle of the main growing season,” said Commissioner Wilton Simpson. “And so we’re going to lose a lot of crops, or they’re going to be greatly diminished. And so these irrigation systems are the lifeblood of those row crops and things of that nature in that area.”

The goal of the report presented by UF is to send a message to both farmers and policymakers. What can be done ahead of the next storm that will save equipment and the economy?

strawberry volumes by hi 1

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

“The more that we can do to not only prepare, but to do things that would mitigate the impacts to the affected areas and allow them to get back on their feet and into production faster in the future,” said Court.

While Idalia caused between $80 and $370 million in agriculture damages, it was dwarfed by Hurricane Ian which caused over a billion dollars of damage.

Irma was determined to have caused $1.3 billion in damages.

The News in Charts is a collection of stories from the industry complemented by charts from Agronometrics to help better tell their story.

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