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Hurricane Ian Impacted 400,000 of Florida's Citrus Crop
USAgNet - 10/04/2022

Florida farmers are facing widespread destruction after Hurricane Ian struck major fruit and vegetable-producing regions of the state. Florida's ag sector is a major supplier of winter-time produce for the rest of the U.S., and the damage will ripple through grocery stores for months to come.

State Ag Commissioner Nikki Fried told Politico there's reports of "100 percent crop loss" in southern parts of the state where the hurricane hit. It carved a path of destruction through the state's citrus region where 400,000 of Florida's 450,000 citrus acres have been impacted, Fried said.

One dairy farm lost more than 200 head of cattle. Tomato farmers lost entire crops. Widespread power outages are impacting greenhouses, produce storage and milking operations that are struggling to stay up and running.

More than half of the state was impacted by the storm, including areas nowhere near the coast due to wind and flooding. Inland farms in central Florida are now battling rising floodwaters, days after the storm. Strawberry farms initially spared by Ian are now water-logged and farmers are delaying planting.

Daunting backlogs in disaster assistance, especially crop insurance, are a major concern for producers who've lost everything. Fried said she's encouraging producers to report their losses as soon as possible to receive help in a timely manner. She's also pressing for a federal disaster package lawmakers are eyeing when they return in December.

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