Florida Farmers Say Irma’s Damage Is The Worst They’ve Ever Seen

by | Sep 13, 2017 | Aftermath, Conspiracy Fact and Theory, Emergency Preparedness, Experts | 35 comments

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    Almost half of Florida’s citrus crops were destroyed during the hurricane and when Florida farmers survey the damage caused by Hurricane Irma, and most are saying it’s the worst destruction to their farms that they’ve ever seen.

    When the worst of Irma’s fury had passed, Gene McAvoy hit the road to inspect the citrus groves and vegetable fields in Florida. McAvoy is a specialist on vegetable farming at the University of Florida’s extension office in the town of LaBelle. LaBelle is located in the middle of one of the country’s biggest concentrations of vegetable and citrus farms.

    According to NPR, the storm made a direct hit to those fields. “The eyewall came right over our main production area,” McAvoy says. Irma had destroyed almost half of the citrus crops in the central Florida area, meaning prices are likely going to go up sharply.

    Many of the destroyed groves of oranges and grapefruit were actually approaching harvest too.  But after Irma blew through, it left “50 or 60 percent of the fruit lying in water [or] on the ground,” says McAvoy. Many trees were standing in water, a mortal danger if their roots stay submerged for longer than three or four days. About a quarter of the country’s sugar production comes from fields of sugar cane near Lake Okeechobee, just east of LaBelle. Harvest season for the sugar cane crop is only a few weeks away, but Irma knocked much of the cane down, making it more difficult to harvest. “We won’t know the exact extent of the loss until it’s harvested,” McAvoy says.

    Fortunately for the vegetable farms, most had yet to be planted, so the destruction was minimal.  But that won’t help the destroyed citrus produce. For example, the strawberry crops had not been planted when Irma struck. Some of the plastic laid in anticipation for planting was ruined, however,  growers can repair the damage that was done and plant the strawberries on schedule.

    It’s probably the worst hurricane that we’ve ever seen,” McAvoy says, although he says Wilma, in 2005, was nearly as damaging. “It’s just not a good day in Florida today,” says Lourdes Villanueva, who works with the Redlands Christian Migrant Association, which provides services for farm workers in the state. Villanueva says the storm destroyed many trailers and other houses where workers live. “The ones where the roof didn’t go, trees fell on them,” she says.

    Farmers also worry that migrant workers won’t want to come to the farms if there is no housing, and many are just rubble now after the encounter with Irma. The crop damage will affect a large part of the United States and the price paid for citrus fruits at the grocery store is likely to go up.


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      1. every hurricane is the worst one they’ve ever seen ( its insurance talk)

        our prices are going up, yet crop insurance ( government funded , and as we know that means you and I and our taxes and elevated prices) will subsidize the farmers losses,, but not subsidize the price gouging that will occur from this day forward,, prices will go up.. but not back down once the demand is met,,, the prices will stay

        milk in my area already went up 32 cents before Irma ever exited the state of Florida

        • i would say the same thing to get more bailout money. rich farmers make me sick.

        • if the NRA gets involved we will have “fruit free” zones

        • Michigan Wolverine – you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. I live here – in Florida. And the article is not b.s. There are orange groves just 15 minutes from my home and the ruin, the sheer devastation to the crops is terrible. Put your ‘F’in tin-foil hat on the rack this time. There was an awful toll paid here by our agricultural system. Sorry about your milk; but, it ain’t a thing to do with the reality, literally on the ground, here.

      2. The oranges are ruined. We’re doomed!

      3. Do they fail to tell you that az, cali , Nevada , and lastly but not least Mexico are fine????? Some of the largest groves are there!Get scared of the screwing at the store but not the future of citrus

      4. Brazil supplies 30 – 50% of the US demand for Frozen Concentrate OJ.

        I don’t know how flexible their production for export is and I don’t know the premium we pay, but as far as frozen OJ goes, I don’t think there will be a tremendous shortage, but likely higher prices.

        Fresh squoze (:-)) is another matter.


        • You are right bb in GA,I’ve been in every Harbor in Florida and the Gulf Coast and I’ve seen orange juice ships from Brazil in a few of them,But nothing like in Tampa Bay.There is one in every week or so at one or the other ports in Tampa Bay,Port Manatee is probably the busiest.They have these portable tank truck racks they set up and are able to load 4 or 5 trucks at a time from the ship.I liked to kid the dock workers and asked them if they were unloading some more of that fresh Florida orange juice,that was always met with a grin.I found out that the juice lost it’s flavor while in the tanks in Brazil then in transit aboard the tankers,When the tank trucks took it to their terminal and discharged it into their tanks they added powdered flavoring to the tank before it was bottled and shipped to the stores as “Florida Orange Juice”.I’ve seen trucks from about every OJ company lined up to load so I guess they all do it.I don’t drink the stuff any way.

      5. If I was a farmer down there I’d pack up and sell out (take a loss) and move out of the flood plane of Florida and farm in Alabama growing peanuts or soybeans. I buy eating (navel) oranges from California. Not an OJ drinker. People will return to flooded areas, rebuild on worthless land and will have to evac again and again, can’t sell out no one will buy crap land unless they are stupid. Ditto for flood planes in Texas, other states.

        • floodplain

        • laura ann is a Moron, and Nobody cares what you think with your useless drivel.

          • Cracksumm: You must be a flood victim. This will be the third site in several months I quit because your type moron trolls, with zero class and stupid comments. Only an idiot would stay in Florida and put up with flooding and evac to shelters, with sinkholes, devalued property, if you are a Floridian or you family, I hit a nerve, so sorry bout that. Good by to this website, I enjoyed the comments from B’heart and others incl the articles. Time to move on. Patriot sites/org. are utter failures anyway, zero accomplished in decades. Other loser sites are The New American, All news pipeline and others allowing idiot trolls bashing other comments.

        • Tell me please – just area of this country doesn’t have some natural/environment issue they have to deal with on some regular basis. I live in Florida. It’s a beautiful place. We have hurricanes, tornadoes, insects and a whole lot of heat/wet problems. But we live here. We survive it. We thrive with it all. As do the Mid-Westerners with droughts, tornadoes, ice-storm………; as do Californians with earthquakes; as do New Englanders with blizzards, as do all those along the rivers with floods…… you name it – we got her in the USA. The thing is to buck up, prepare, be ready to accept the losses and the trials of your chosen land and home. Not run like a half-plucked chicken at the first bit of adversity. That’s cowardly. Learn, plan, fight. So keep your “If I was a farmer….” b.s. darlin’. For you admit by that you are NOT a farmer, you must be something else. But you are not willing to ever pay the price and see through all that life will throw at you. That is what you are. Don’t let the domain door hit you where the Good Lord split ya.

      6. I think farmers suck and here’s why. Growing in the ground is stupid. Farming needs to come into the modern age and grow in containers, above ground. In a green house. You get better pest control, no need for pesticides. You get soil management, less run off. And need less water, by maybe 90%. Plus you have less run off of nitrogen that causes algae blooms.

        The savings will pay for all the infrastructure.

        • A greenhouse generally means a longer growing season too. Possibly year round.

          • thanks for the ideas, sierra…very good points made.

          • You still use pesticides in greenhouses plus you also then need to rely heavily on soluble feetilizers and fungicides as well as electricity to maintain the temperatures in the greenhouse,
            As long as your willing to pay much more for your produce no problem
            Nailbanger aka Kulafarmer

            • Kulafarmer – things have moved on apace since you tilled the earth. Britain has a huge greenhouse growing space in a place called Thanet. 12 months of the year crops in a colder climate! They introduce their own insect predators to control pests..they also produce excess electricity which is sold to the National grid. Keep up to date old man, oxen are so yesterday!

            • Here’s the link to those people who you say don’t know anything about farming, get highlighters off old man:


              They don’t farm an acre or two of volcanic ash either!

            • thanks to you TOO, kula!

          • The wife had a prize houseplant fall over. Turns out that if a plant isn’t stressed by the wind and natural forces they don’t grow sturdy, and forces like gravity will knock them over.

            Yeah we’ll probably stake the plant, but it really needs to get outside once in a while. Green houses aren’t the only answer.

            Speaking of gardens, for years I’ve been growing the small Gurney melons in containers hanging on a fence, it kept the cut worms away. This year I had 8 or nine melons growing perfectly. A week shy of harvest everyone was eaten by small critters unknown. I love these fresh off the stalk ripe homegrown melons. I mean dang!

        • @SD

          We have just under 1 Billion acres in Farmland in the US. About 40% of it is permanent pasture. The big hitters are corn ~85 million, soybeans ~70 m, forage ~60 m, all the wheat ~50 m, cotton ~10 m, and….other stuff plus

          Orchard Crops ~5 million acres

          Vegetables ~4.5 million acres

          Assuming you could grow fruit trees in greenhouses.

          First Observation: As far as the roughly 400 million acres in crops the stuff you are talking about is around 2% of all the land in use.

          Second Ob: What percentage of the pesticides, runoff, soil management issues, and water consumption would you use/save? I understand a lot of the big acreage hitters use dry land farming practice depending on natural rain, so possibly the fruits and vegetables consume water out of proportion to their acreage.

          Is there enough there there to matter?


          • Spot on, the reality is unless these dim whits are willing to pay 3? 4? Maybe more times the cost for produce, growing fruit trees in greenhouses isnt going to happen ever.
            The bulk of the greens etc that are grown in the ground would be cost prohibitive to grow in greenhouses, not only cost prohibitive for the farmer to produce but for the consumer to be able to buy,

        • And you know so much about farming because????
          Stupid fuck

          • Thank you for the knuckledragging insult.

            Not everything would be greenhoused.

        • Greenhouse farming is good for individual families but wouldn’t work for large scale food production to feed millions. Always grow as much of your own as you possibly can.

        • Sierra,
          You make a lot of sense.
          Farmers do not suck.
          It’s a lot of hard work they do for the rest of us.
          They all deserve a badge of honor from the president.

          The govt has farms underground and I’ll bet most of the food is farmed in containers, not unlike your suggestion.
          This food, I believe, is for the elite and for the Russian and other foreign solders already on our turf, to keep them strong and healthy to kill us all.

          The rest of the population of America and the entire world, those to be killed first, get to eat the foods sprayed by special sprayers (just for us) in and on the planes, with govt (tax payer paid) poison/chemicals from the sky.

      7. I went into Aldi’s Saturday late and they had all produce at half price because they were going to close for the hurricane. I got huge golden honeydews for $1.45, mangoes for .35, watermelons for $1.49, 3 pound bags of pears for $1.60 and other produce. I cleaned up, now get the damn power back on.

      8. Real bummer for the farms, to those of you who are whining about how unfair the crop insurance etc is because it doesnt make your orange juice cheaper,
        That crop insurance is a drop in the bucket for a farm that loses its crop and needs to re plant hundreds of acres.

      9. Drinking orange juice spikes sugar. It is much healthier to eat a whole orange. The fiber fills you up and cleans your pipes, and helps keep you sugar from spiking. People rarely eat more than one or two oranges at a sitting, but some people down a pint of juice or more.

        CAlifornia used to have orange trees on every other house. But although you do see some, there are not nearly as many on private property. I like the leaves. The trees are quite lovely and come in various sizes from five foot porch trees, semi, and full size.


        • B,
          Your advice about oranges vs. orange juice is spot on.

      10. No shit!

        when was the last time Florida was hit by a Cat4/3 hurricane all up the state. So yes dick weed it will be the worse you have seen. DUH!!!!!!!!


      11. If you consume fat and protein at the same time as you drink a high carb item like OJ, your blood sugar will not spike as it is moderated by those other foods.

        Slamming an 8 oz OJ as you run out the door in the AM will indeed do what you say….


      12. Amazingly only 20% of the orange crop and 30% of the grapefruit crop was ruined due to Irma. Yet they’ll jack up prices as if it was the other way around, with 80%/70% destroyed.

        Meanwhile, lots of looting going on in various areas of FL. No surprise considering Hispanics and Blacks combined make up more than half of the population there.

        When law and order are suspended it doesn’t take long or much for parts of the population to become feral.

      13. Growing up in Florida citrus groves were plentiful, oranges and tangerines were delicious. Rare to see a tree now as development has cleared them out to rural areas. Grocery store prices are now ridiculous. I can eat a dozen at one sitting.

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