Hurricane Ian has hobbled Florida’s agriculture industry

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Cliff Coddington inspects a youthful orange tree That is been uprooted by Hurricane Ian on a ranch he runs in Sarasota County, Fla.

Saul Martinez for NPR


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Cliff Coddington inspects a youthful orange tree That is been uprooted by Hurricane Ian on a ranch he runs in Sarasota County, Fla.

Saul Martinez for NPR

SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. – The gravel and dust Turpentine Nonetheless Road Leads to the Longino Ranch, established 1934. It Is simple To overlook the flip as a Outcome of the entrance signal is blown down in a ditch. It is Amongst The numerous tens of hundreds of acres of Florida farmland in Ian’s path.

“We’ll run up and Take A look at some tree damage That is down, says ranch supervisor Cliff Coddington as he heads out in his pickAs a lot as see what Hurricane Ian left behind.

It requires driving by way of water That is still As a lot Since the truck’s tire properly Greater than Every week after the hurricane. He says the ranch had as a lot as 5 ft of water in some places immediately after the storm.

That’s typically An limitless and diversified opperiodtion That options cattle, timber, citrus, bee primarytaining, wildlife conservation, and sod farming on 9,000 acres in northeast Sarasota county. Hurricane Ian touched every nook.

“Power strains have been down,” Coddington says. “We still Do not have power but, however they acquired the strains again up, so it’s getting nearer.”

Cliff Coddington On the Longino Ranch.

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Cliff Coddington On the Longino Ranch.

Saul Martinez for NPR

A triage like state of affairs

Pine timber are twisted and bent in half, metallic roofs are ripped from barns, bee hives are primepled, and sprawling oaks are crashed aprime fences. Coddington has been driving horseagain to survey the 128-mile fence line – a process he says will take months.

“I do know We’d have A minimal of ten miles [down] And probably extra.”

He says this ranch runs 1,200 mama cows, and most Appear to have survived the storm.

Coddington is a 6th period cowboy and previous president of the Florida Cattleman’s Affiliation. The group used An in depth-by stockyard as a distrihoweverion center for emergency provides like posts, barbed wire, chainsaw gasoline, and hay.

The Florida Division of Agriculture Continues to be gathering information on the extent of the widespread damage to farms and ranches, and is asking for a fedperiodl farm disaster declaration for 17 counties.

Cattle on the ranch managed by Cliff Coddington which was damaged by Hurricane Ian.

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Cattle on the ranch managed by Cliff Coddington which was damaged by Hurricane Ian.

Saul Martinez for NPR

Jim Strickland, one other 6th period cattleman who has a neighboring ranch, says the scene right here is having fun with out at cattle ranches all throughout this An factor of Florida.

“Proper now, The primary method – virtually a triage state of affairs – is We’re going round our perimeter fences simply to make sure that we repair every hole, every tree That is on that fence, To primarytain our cattle from getting out, from getting on the road, somebody getting harm,” says Strickland.

He says flooded previousures imply the grass is Not good for grazing, and cattle Which have been standing in water might Finish in illness, collectively with foot rot. And extreme water is lingering. Coddington says the south end of the Longino Ranch Isn’t accessible.

“That’s still beneathwater,” he says. “Tright here Is not any method I can get to it even on a horse. It is halfmethod up my boots.”

Citrus is scattered on The beneathside after Hurricane Ian’s extremely effective winds ripped throughout the ranch managed by Cliff Coddington in Sarasota County, Fla., on Oct. 7, 2022.

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Citrus is scattered on The beneathside after Hurricane Ian’s extremely effective winds ripped throughout the ranch managed by Cliff Coddington in Sarasota County, Fla., on Oct. 7, 2022.

Saul Martinez for NPR

Exhausting To survive

It is a bumpy journey out to the citrus groves as a Outcome of the water circulate was so strong all by way of Hurricane Ian that it carved deep ruts Inside the truck path that runs by way of the ranch. The wind damage is stark – row after row of orange and grapefruit timber are bent southward, stripped of fruit. A pair of of the youthfuler timber are utterly uprooted.

“Citrus acquired beat pretty hard,” Coddington says. “All of our grapefruit crop is on The beneathside.”

Coddington says this yr’s fruit crop is An complete loss, and he estimates as a lot as 30% of the timber Will not recupperiodte. Even earlier than the storm, the USDA had predicted the Florida orange crop Can be down by A third this yr.

Coddington says this is Yet one extra blow that comes at A nasty time with farmers already beneath strain as a Outcome of inflation has pushed up The worth of doing enterprise.

Citrus timber on the ranch managed by Cliff Coddington which was damaged by Hurricane Ian.

Saul Martinez for NPR


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Citrus timber on the ranch managed by Cliff Coddington which was damaged by Hurricane Ian.

Saul Martinez for NPR

“It has been Sort of hard To survive,” he says. “After which you undoubtedly get Definitely one Of these stomped on prime of you. It makes it strong.”

Coddington estimates it might take As a lot as 5 yrs To utterly recupperiodte from Hurricane Ian. It is like starting at sq. one.

“The first day or two after the storm, I used to be questioning whether or not I truly needed To start out over as quickly as extra,” he admits. “However it’s in your blood to do it. And That is what we do.”

After 9 days with no power, he arrives again On the ranch office to An indication of progress as power crews look at their repairs.

“Y’all good?” he asks.

“You The particular person,” responds the crew chief with the Peace River Electrical Coopperiodtive. “You purchased lights!”

It is An important step on the prolonged road to recupperiodtey. Coddington says Hurricane Ian Will not knock down decided Florida ranchers.

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