Georgia’s agriculture industry is assessing damage done by Irma, but leaders said pecan and cotton crops were the most vulnerable as the storm passed through because they’re nearing harvest.
Both were hit hard.
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Fifty percent of Georgia’s pecan crop might be lost, according to state Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black.
“If we lose half this pecan crop, fruitcakes will be more expensive at Christmastime, one would think,” Black said.
But more important than pricey desserts, Black is worried about what the damaged crops mean for the state’s already-struggling rural economy.
“It’s gonna affect livelihoods and income, and then what those people do in the local economy, too,” he said.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary and former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue will tour the state Friday to assess the damage, Black said.
Cotton is nearing harvest, which made it susceptible to high winds, and crop consultants are estimating between 25 percent and 50 percent of the cotton yield is gone.
Cotton ready for defoliation when Irma hit suffered 25-30% yield loss. A lot cotton to check, hope this is worst. pic.twitter.com/pvIAs2UCBR
— Wes Briggs (@wbriggs12) September 12, 2017
“Farming ain’t easy. It’s never been easy,” said Brian Tolar, president of the Georgia Agribusiness Council.
Tolar is worried about how the state’s timber industry fared.
“A tree laying on the ground here and yon is of very little, if any value, to anyone,” he said.
Black said Irma may mean at least one positive result for farmers.
All the storm’s rain could boost Georgia’s peanut crop toward a record-breaking harvest.