Hurricane Irma’s Impact on Agriculture, the Markets, and Florida


September 8, 2017

Updated September 15, 2017


Hurricane Irma recently caused death and destruction in the Caribbean the U.S. and was billed as one of the strongest Atlantic hurricanes in history.

Florida is the top grower of citrus and sugar cane with a production value of 1.2 billion dollars per year. Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina are large cotton states where damage would impact and an already damaged market. The poultry, hog, and horse industries also make a top commodity for all four states. But after last weekend, many Florida based agricultural producers ventured into their fields and groves after Hurricane Irma to find “oranges ripped from trees, shade houses gone, vegetable beds ruined, sugar cane flattened and power poles and lines down,” according to the Palm Beach Post.

Statewide, the total agricultural cost of the storm will be in the billions, informal estimates suggest, the Florida Farm Bureau Federation said Thursday.

But the Florida Farm Bureau said that state residents remain resilient and are already working to restore food and fiber production despite the widespread destruction of crops, buildings, fencing, and other lands. But it will be an uphill battle. Most farmers are expecting a smaller crop yield and face large citrus losses, especially in the SW portion of the peninsula. Informal estimates suggest that the total agricultural cost of the storm will be in the billions.

The Alabama Department of Agriculture is currently providing temporary facilities to help relocate livestock in Irma’s path. And many celebrities joined forces to raise money for the victims of both recent storms, led by country superstar George Strait who joined dozens of singers, actors, athletes and other celebrities for HAND IN HAND: A Benefit for Hurricane Relief.

Irma finally made landfall in Florida on Saturday and Sunday, September 9th and 10th, 2017. Watch how the U.S. prepared for Hurricane Irma. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) sent a reminder this week that they offer resources and provides assistance to rural communities, farmers and ranchers, families and small businesses that have been impacted by Hurricane Irma.