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

Equifax apologizes for sending people to fake company website
Equifax apologizes for sending people to fake company website

Equifax linked people to a fake online site that mimicked the link for its own site on its massive Sept. 7 security breach that affected 143 million Americans. After the breach, which involved Social Security numbers and other key identifying information, Equifax set up a site, equifaxsecurity2017.com, that directed people to information on the...
Death Wish coffee recalled over botulism concerns
Death Wish coffee recalled over botulism concerns

Death Wish Coffee Company, a New York-based coffee producer that advertises itself as maker of the “world’s strongest coffee,” is recalling some of its products over concerns that it could become tainted with the deadly botulin toxin. Officials with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said in a notice issued Tuesday that 11-ounce...
After Irma: Consumers face new reality with higher storm deductibles
After Irma: Consumers face new reality with higher storm deductibles

Floridians have filed close to half a million property insurance claims worth an estimated $3 billion in the two weeks after Hurricane Irma hit, but more than 17,000 claims already have been closed without payment, records show — and consumers like John Flynn of Lake Worth find themselves wrestling with a bigger financial burden than they hoped...
More free time, less effort: 9 ways to be more productive at work
More free time, less effort: 9 ways to be more productive at work

Anyone who's ever held gainful employment at any level knows what it's like to goof off on the job. You text your best friend, skip out to get another latte or vending machine snack, veer from a meeting into a gossip session and, suddenly, where has the day gone?Not only do most of us excel at wasting time, just 17 percent of people can accurately...
Lake Worth warehouses fetch nearly $31 million
Lake Worth warehouses fetch nearly $31 million

Two warehouses that are part of an industrial building boom in Palm Beach County just sold for $30.7 million. The Silverman Group is the new owner of the 252,000-square-foot Interstate Business Center at 701 Boutwell Road in Lake Worth. The buildings were completed in 2016. Robert Smith, Jeff Kelly and Kirk Nelson of CBRE handled the sale. The buildings...
More Stories