Ian struck a major blow to Florida agriculture, study finds


Evaluation from the College of Florida found that damage to the state’s agricultural sector As a Outcome of of Hurricane Ian was extreme. Photograph by Invoice Greenblatt/UPI | License Photograph

Oct. 19 (UPI) — Hurricane Ian Outcomeed in as a lot as $1.56 billion in losses for Florida’s agricultural sector, from animal merchandise to crops, a College of Florida research found.

Ian made landfall Sept. 29 on Florida’s west coast as a Class 4 hurricane. The College of Florida’s Institute of Meals and Agricultural Sciences started its survey of producers The subsequent day.

Nikki Fried, Florida’s agriculture commissioner, said the influence from Ian Can’t be undersaid.

“After talking with producers and seeing the devastation of Hurricane Ian firsthand, I am saddened, however not surprised by the estimated value of this storm,” she said Tuesday.

The College of Florida said Ian influenceed Shut to 5 million acres of agricultural land Which will yield Greater than $8.1 billion in agricultural merchandise. Whereas about 60% of that land is Put aside for grazing, the university said citrus, greens and melons have been hit the worst.

“We think about that the manufacturing losses for agricultural producers — crops, livestock/aquaculture and animal merchandise — ensuing from Hurricane Ian will probably be between $787 million and $1.56 billion,” researchers found.

Florida’s financial system relies upon closely on agriculture. In 2019, the final full yr for which the state revealed knowledge, the state ranked first Inside the nation in farms elevating flowers When it Includes money receipts and second for gadgets Similar to strawberries. Citrus, in the meantime, is a $1.1 billion enterprise for Florida, although growers said earlier this month they misplaced almost 80% of their crop As a Outcome of of Ian.

The damage to Florida crops follows an evaluation from the U.S. Division of Agriculture that found this yr’s forecast for citrus was already dpersonal 32% relative to yr-in the past ranges.

“The influence on Florida’s affected commodities Can’t be undersaid, particularly the heartbreaking damage to Florida citrus, an enterprise already dealing with vital challenges,” Commissioner Fried said. “This evaluation, Collectively with our personal inner analysis, Is The first step Inside the rebuilding course of and my department will proceed to work with state and federal companions to assist our producers all by way of the restoration course of.”