Hurricane Ian caused up to $1.8 billion in damage to Florida agriculture last month, according to state agriculture officials.
According to a preliminary estimate released Monday by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Category 4 storm caused between $1.1 billion and $1.8 billion in losses to the state’s crops and agriculture infrastructure when it ripped through the peninsula after landing in southwest Florida.
The agency’s estimate was in the same ballpark as a preliminary estimate released last week by the University of Florida, which put Florida’s agriculture loss at up to $1.5 billion.
Crop losses ranged between $686 million and $1.2 billion. Citrus suffered the greatest losses, with damages ranging from $416 million to $675 million, according to the Department of Agriculture report. The hurricane struck near the start of the citrus growing season in Florida, which produces roughly 60% of all citrus consumed in the United States.
Citrus growers not only lost fruit that was blown off trees, but they also face the prospect of damaged trees from flooding. According to the report, the loss could amount to as much as 11% of the citrus trees. Even before the hurricane, the deadly citrus greening disease was expected to reduce Florida’s orange production by nearly a third this season.
Florida lost an estimated $153.7 million to $230.5 million in non-citrus fruits and vegetables, or 10% to 15% of crops, just as planting season was getting underway. According to the report, many fields lost plastic and drip-tape irrigation as well as other infrastructure.