5 months after the initial onslaught of Hurricane Irma and the disastrous effects left in her wake, the consequences to Florida’s citrus crops continues to rear its ugly head. Reports of citrus devastation have been rolling in sad wave after wave.
Prior to Irma, Florida crop was already on the decline thanks to disease corrupting the groves and causing the production of any given crop to go down markedly since as recent as a decade ago.
According to articles like the one produced by marketplace.org, as much as two-thirds of countless crops are now gone, thanks to Irma, leaving many farm workers unemployed.
The Florida congressional delegation, along with Florida’s governor and state officials, have been lobbying Washington, D.C. for federal disaster funding dedicated specifically to helping this particular industry. As of now, no program is in place yet to provide relief for those who are suffering.
The Florida Commissioner of Agriculture has estimated the cost of Irma to Florida’s farm sector at $2.5 billion, with projected losses at $760,000,000 ($760 million).
“When a tree sits in water for as little as two days, it destroys the root system and kills the tree,” Paul Meador, a fourth-generation citrus grower said. He doesn’t anticipate that the true aftermath of this storm for another year or two down the road.
Other sites, nbcnews.com, report that Hurricane Irma knocked 50% to 90% of Florida’s citrus fruits to the ground in certain areas. According to the state commissioner of agriculture, Adam Putnam, citrus accounts for approximately 45,000 full and part-time jobs throughout the state and Irma is credited for wiping out nearly 56,000 jobs along with all that fruit.
Orange production is suffering its lowest counts since 1945 where 42.8 million boxes (90lb each) This year hopes for upwards of approximately 46 million boxes (90lbs each), despite the losses from hurricane season.
After natural events like root rot, greening disease, hurricanes, and tropical storms a-plenty, all Floridians can really do at this point is muscle through and attempt to rebuild while hoping to be granted funds for relief.