University of Florida extension agents and economists are gathering information to develop estimates of crop loss after Hurricane Michael swept through Florida’s Panhandle.
Alan Hodges, director of the University of Florida’s Economic Impact Assessment Program, said in a news release that about 1 million acres of field crops and 3.6 million acres of upland forest in Florida were potentially affected by Hurricane Michael.
Hodges said Oct. 15 that as much as $50 million worth of specialty crops in several Florida counties were affected by Michael, but how much of those crops have been lost to the storm has yet to be determined.
The Quincy region, in Gadsen County, is an important growing region for tomatoes and other crops.
“That’s one of the areas we are going to be looking at closely,” Hodges said.
The most damage was reported over 200,000 acres of crops in Bay, Gulf, Franklin, Liberty, Calhoun, Washington, Jackson and Gadsden counties, he said in the release.
Winds were recorded with speeds up to 150 miles per hour in the region. Panhandle areas that produce crops such as winter vegetables, fruit and nut trees, and ornamental plants, are still being evaluated for damage, he said in the release.
Hodges, based in Gainesville, is leading the effort to consolidate and analyze raw data reported by University of Florida extension agents who are visiting farms and talking to growers.