Climate and Agriculture in the Southeast

Georgia Ag Commissioner Gary Black on the impacts of Michael

Posted by a friend of a friend on Facebook today. The losses are staggering.

“GA Ag Commissioner Gary Black, “Our worst dreams are being realized.” $1B in losses…1 billion With a B! There aren’t the devastating pictures to convey this loss like there are on the coast. But it’s just as real. Farmers don’t usually carry significant crop insurance on irrigated land, the risk/reward ratio doesn’t make sense year after year. We have a friend with 1000+ acres in irrigated cotton alone. It’s gone. That’s $1 million+ off their bottom line…just gone. Commissioner Black says there is a not a government program for this. This is unprecedented. There aren’t FEMA trailers that can pull up and provide tarps and ice and MREs to help lessen the blow while people get their lives back together. There is nothing but loss. The hardest hit are the pecan farmers who lost their trees. My daddy had a pretty good bit of cotton that is gone and as devastating as that is (and it is devastating), he can plant another crop next year. Pecan trees that produce pecans are like 50 years old. They can’t plant another tree and start producing again next year. They’ve lost their livelihood for years to come. A livelihood that was 2, 3 or 4 generations deep in their family. Livestock and property damage is also significant. Chicken houses and chickens are gone. Cattle are gone because fences were down. Equipment is destroyed. Barns are destroyed. I saw 6 or 8 irrigation systems mangled just yesterday. That’s give or take a couple hundred thousand a pop. There are so many layers to the crop damage as well. The peanuts that were harvested can’t be dried because there is no electricity. Daddy’s own farm damage has had to play 2nd fiddle because they’ve been frantically trying to get electricity and servers back up to the Federal State’s offices so they can grade the peanuts that were harvested before the storm. I haven’t even touched on vegetable farmers. There are just layers and layers that we don’t even think about. If you know a farming family, know they are hurting. Know their life’s work has literally just been ripped from the ground. Know they probably don’t have power and water, know that they have damage to their homes, churches etc. Know they were the ones cutting roads clear in the immediate aftermath. Know they would be first in line to give the shirts off their backs. Give them a hug, they need it.”