Irma could harm Florida’s crops, especially sugar cane and citrus

Florida’s crops, especially citrus and sugar cane, could be damaged by Hurricane Irma , a forecast service said Wednesday.

“The exact track of the storm will be a major determining factor on the extent of the crop damage,” said Don Keeney, senior agricultural meteorologist for MDA Weather Services. “A storm track right over the center of the Florida peninsula would likely result in significant damage to citrus trees and sugar cane plants.”

Hurricane Irma: Which Palm Beach County gas stations have generators

A track keeping the eye of the storm, and its most powerful winds and rainsjust to the east of Florida would lower damage potential for Florida crops, but would increase threats to cotton, corn and soybean crops in the Carolinas.

Hurricane Irma, currently in the eastern Caribbean, has become one of the strongest Atlantic hurricanes in history. The storm is forecast to pass just north of Puerto Rico Wednesday night, and be just north of Cuba by Saturday.

Hurricane Irma: Winn-Dixie stores to get stream of supplies

Most forecast models then show the storm making a turn to the north and passing either right over the center of Florida, the state’s agricultural hub, or just off its east coast.

Either of these tracks would result in some damage to Florida crops, MDA Weather Services said.

Palm Beach County is Florida’s largest producer of sugar cane. In the 2016-17 season, Florida produced more than 2 million tons of sugar, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service.

Clewiston-based U.S. Sugar Corp. which grows sugar cane in western Palm Beach County, and also produces orange juice, is taking all precautions to ensure the safety of its people, property and equipment, spokeswoman Judy Sanchez said Wednesday.

“Farmers are always at the mercy of Mother Nature. You prepare and you pray. Right now, the people of the Glades are praying long and hard for everyone potentially in harm’s way,” Sanchez said.

“Our farmers are drawing down water levels in farm canals and securing equipment and buildings. Our railroad is securing railcars and equipment. Our sugar factory, citrus processing plant and water treatment plant are securing facilities and equipment,” Sanchez said.

The company is also preparing for post-storm assessment, clean-up and restoration of operations.

The 2017-18 sugar cane harvest is scheduled to begin Oct. 1. Citrus harvesting is expected to start in mid-December.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in

Condo Act does not restrict nonresident owners from serving on panel

Question: I am an original condo owner (46 years) in our building. I am originally from New York. In the past six years, we have become Florida residents, spending six months per year in Florida. Our community needs a lot of work, and last year I invited several neighbors to my home to talk about what we could do to improve the look of the community...
PIP lawsuits explode to record
PIP lawsuits explode to record

A no-fault car insurance system that was supposed to reduce lawsuits in Florida has instead produced a record mountain of more than 60,000 in 2017, a new report shows. That represents a stunning rise of close to 50 percent in one year, according to data from The Florida Justice Reform Institute, a group that says it fights against wasteful litigation...
After price cut, former New York Yankee’s mansion listed at $14 million
After price cut, former New York Yankee’s mansion listed at $14 million

Former New York Yankees pitcher Jeff Nelson has cut his price and hired a new agent to market his mansion in Jupiter. Nelson now is asking $14 million for the 11,000-square-foot crib along the Intracoastal Waterway at Admirals Cove. Billy Nash of The Keyes Co. is the new listing agent of the 1.1-acre estate. “It was listed last year at $19 million...
Should you talk about your pay? Career experts weigh in
Should you talk about your pay? Career experts weigh in

Even with nearly every cultural taboo thrown to the wind− from discussing sexual orientation to politics; one last conversational taboo still exist among Americans − how much we get paid. "These days, it's okay to talk about the troubles we're having with our children or even our marriages," noted one blogger from PayScale...
BB&T recovering after 'technical issue' left customers without access to accounts, cash
BB&T recovering after 'technical issue' left customers without access to accounts, cash

Millions of BB&T customers were locked out of their accounts Thursday night and Friday morning due to an outage that bank officials said was caused by a "technical issue." The interruption of services was first reported Thursday night and appeared to last until just before noon Friday. “At this time, many of our services...
More Stories