Hurricane Michael Expected to Impact Georgia's Agriculture

22 hours ago

Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black predicts long-lasting damage to the state's farms. He says pecan crops are badly affected and entire fields of cotton are completely wiped out.

Though Georgia did avoid the brunt of the storm, the state’s farmers could still suffer substantial damage.

UGA Professor Jeffrey Dorfman says in addition to cotton and pecans, other Georgia crops could suffer similar harm.

“Unfortunately, this hurricane is coming at probably the worst time that could’ve been chosen. We’ve got peanuts, some in the ground that may be ok but some that have been dug but not harvested. When you harvest peanuts you, first you dig them up out of the ground so they can sit and dry for a little bit, and then you come back and collect them. If they get pulled out by the hurricane and blown all over the place, we could lose some, and they’ll suffer quality loss on the rest,” Dorfman says. “We still have some of our soybeans in the field too, so a lot of our most valuable crops are right at their most vulnerable moment.”

He explains the worst-case scenario when it comes to agricultural losses.

“Worst case scenario is probably about a $1 billion hit to Georgia agriculture. I don’t think it will be that bad,” Dorfman says. “I’m hoping it’ll be something like more like $300 million, but if everything went wrong, Georgia farmers could lose $1 billion.

Dorfman says depending on the weather, it could take several days to determine the full extent of the damage.