There is little financial recourse for the extensive Hurricane Idalia damage to hoop houses, buildings, row crops, elevators, grain bins, irrigation systems, fences, and tree crops. Most of the insurers had already pulled out. FEMA will help with farmhouses, but not the rest. Many farmers will never recover.
County Administrator Gregg Scott noted that almost $900 million revenue that comes to the county because of agriculture, and $60 million of tax revenue “that goes through you”. 97% of Suwannee County farms are owned by local farmers; family farms are important.
Wesley Wainwright, owner of Wainwright Farms, explained much of the damage. See also Megan Peschl, WUFT, September 19, 2023, Live Oak poultry and crop damage to ‘impact global market’, which mentions five million chickens died. That would seem also to be a risk to the waterways from the carcasses.
Someone introduced only as Dee, who said she is a crop consultant, said the damage was in many counties, including Hamilton, Madison, Lafayette, and especially northern Suwannee County.
Jim Weaver of the North Florida Cattlemen’s Association described how bad the situation is with trees down on fences.
I recommend watching the entire video, depressing as it is.
In addition to all the obvious downsides, watch out for miners and others buying up farmland for non-agricultural purposes.
Thanks for the tip from Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson.
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®