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

Lytal, other Palm Beach County lawyers take lead at state legal group
Lytal, other Palm Beach County lawyers take lead at state legal group

Lake H. “Trey” Lytal III and other Palm Beach County attorneys have taken leadership roles in a state legal association that has lobbied the legislature heavily on issues including proposed repeal of Florida’s no-fault car insurance system. Lytal, 47, was sworn in as president of the Florida Justice Association in its annual meeting...
Draft contracts likely not inspectable records

Question: I live in a community with a HOA. I understand that, as a parcel owner, I have the right to view official records upon request. My HOA is currently in negotiations with a cable provider to renew our cable contract. I have access to the bids, as I understand those are part of the official records. My question is: Would I have the right to...
How safe is your home insurer in 2018? What you need to know
How safe is your home insurer in 2018? What you need to know

Hurricane Irma’s claims in Florida are still climbing to nearly $10 billion and nearly 10 percent are not closed, but the 2018 hurricane season barged right in anyway. It could not even wait until its official start date of June 1 to generate a named storm, Alberto. While the season’s ultimate severity remains to be seen, September&rsquo...
Affordable housing project lists new homes at $155K — see how it works
Affordable housing project lists new homes at $155K — see how it works

For nine years, Michelle Meeks crammed herself and her two daughters into a two-bedroom unit in what she describes as a “fly-by-night” apartment complex. The single mom saved money by skipping cable, and she slept in a bedroom where the air conditioning barely worked. “It was horrible,” said Meeks, a maintenance worker. Now...
AMC Theatres announces $20-a-month rival to MoviePass
AMC Theatres announces $20-a-month rival to MoviePass

AMC Theatres, the world's largest movie theater chain, has unveiled a $20-a-month subscription service to rival the fledgling MoviePass. The theater chain on Wednesday announced a new service to its loyalty program, AMC Stubs, allowing subscribers to see up to three movies a week for a monthly fee of $19.95. That's more expensive than the $9.95 monthly...
More Stories