Today's Wall Street Journal article by Arian Campo-Flores and Valerie Bauerlein “State Tallies Irma’s Economic Toll,” provided an update the impact of tourism and agriculture, which is the state’s second-largest industry.
The losses in ag are expected to cost billions, according to the Florida Farm Bureau. The article notes that in Okeechobee County in southern Fla. alone, the Farm Bureau estimates a loss of $16 million.
Florida’s $800 million citrus industry was especially hurt, with growers concerned that losses would reach 50% of the crop.
The Farm Bureau noted that the cleanup for farmers dealing with power failures, ruined crops and damaged equipment will be a major challenge. Florida Ag Commissioner Adam Putnam, after taking an aerial tour of the state (citing wide swaths of destruction, including sheds and buildings split apart), estimated the crop loss in southwest Florida would exceed 70% because of flooding of root systems and down trees.
“Agriculture took it on the chin,” Putnam was quoted as saying. “I was surprised by the scale of flooding.”