Hurricane Ian caused $1.2 billion to $1.9 billion in damage to Florida agriculture when it tore through the state last month, with one-third of the losses coming in the citrus industry alone, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services reported Monday.
The state assessment, which puts the damage to the citrus industry at $417 million to $676 million, incorporates estimates released last week by the University of Florida.
The region hit by Ian, which encompasses most of the state’s citrus production, typically produces more than $8.1 billion in agricultural products a year.
Florida Ag Commission Nikki Fried said the assessment was a “preliminary snapshot” and “a critical first step in the process of securing federal disaster aid for our hard-working producers.”
According to the report, most of the citrus losses were due to fruit drop, damage to branches and the effects of heavy rainfall and flooding. An estimated 375,302 acres of citrus production were affected, including 154,846 acres hit by category 4 force winds and 49,449 that experienced category 3 force winds.
Damage estimates for other sectors:
- Animal and animal products, including aquaculture and dairy: $337 million to $492 million.
- Fruits (other than citrus) and vegetables: $154 million to $231 million.
- Field crops (including sugarcane): $86 million to $160 million.
- Horticultural crops: $154 million to $297 million.
The beef cattle and dairy sectors both suffered losses to fencing, buildings and other infrastructure.
Some 250 beef cattle died due to the storm, and more than 257,000 calves are “awaiting to be shipped to out-of-state feedlots, currently in stressful condition,” the report said. An estimated 1.6 million acres of pasture “has experienced significant erosion and flood damage” as a result of the hurricane, the report said.
Twenty-four dairy farms suffered “significant damages” and the storm also reduced milk production because of the stress put on cows.
Some 187,871 fruit and vegetable acres of vegetables experienced hurricane or tropical storm winds. “The planting season was getting into full gear as Hurricane Ian hit, and many fields lost the plastic and drip-tape irrigation that had been installed. In addition to blown plastic and irrigation, growers have reported clean-up costs which are a significant portion of the total estimated losses,” the report said.
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