HURRICANE MICHAEL’S IMPACT ON GEORGIA AGRICULTURE
The storm had a “catastrophic” effect on the state’s top agricultural commodities, according to a recent study from the University of Georgia’s Cooperative Extension.
Agents and agricultural economists affiliated with the school estimated that the storm caused more than $2.5 billion in losses to the state’s agriculture industry.
The state’s biggest cash crops, including cotton and peanuts, took major hits. But even more concerning to many policymakers was the “generational losses” to pecan orchards and timber, because it takes years for new trees to grow to maturity.
Poultry, the state’s most profitable agriculture export, also experienced major losses. Not only were birds lost, but chicken houses and other farm structures, too.
Here are some of the direct and indirect losses the storm caused to individual crops, along with the“farm gate”value of each — the market value of each crop minus costs such as transport — in 2016 as estimated by the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development:
Direct losses: $550 million - $600 million Agriculture-sector losses: $74 million
Farm gate value: $968 million
Direct losses: $560 million (including crops, trees and future income) Agriculture-sector losses: $24.7 million
Farm gate value: $356 million
TIMBER Direct losses: $763 million Agriculture-sector losses: $170 million
Farm gate value: $681 million
VEGETABLES Direct losses: $480 million Agriculture-sector losses: $69 million
Farm gate value: $996 million
Direct losses: $28 million (including birds and chicken houses) Agriculture-sector losses: $20 million
Farm gate value, 2016: $4.4 billion
PEANUTS Direct losses: $10 million - $20 million Agriculture-sector losses: $1.6 million
Farm gate value: $624 million