Perdue Tours Citrus, Pecan Crops Damaged by Irma

September 19, 2017 12:17 PM

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has been traveling the states hit the hardest by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

On Monday, he met with Florida’s ag commissioner to assess the damage the citrus and vegetable crops experienced.

“People of ag are used to hard work, investing sweat and capital—they will recover and USDA will help,” said Perdue.  

Hurricane Irma struck another blow to the already struggling Florida citrus crop. Growers have been battling citrus greening for two decades, and have seen a 70 percent drop in orange production during that time.

Perdue told citrus producers the USDA will speed up help and he plans on asking Congress for additional aid.

His home state of Georgia was viciously attacked by Irma, damaging the pecan crop. Early estimates believe the crop losses are roughly 30 percent.

According to the University of Georgia Extension, the storm was the most damaging wind event ever seen by the Georgia pecan industry. It said Irma brought damage to virtually every pecan orchard in the state, significantly weakening what was a strong 2017 crop.

The most damage was sustained to orchards near Valdosta, roughly 80 miles northeast of Tallahassee. In that area, growers reported thousands of trees on the ground.

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