Florida Farm Bureau is working with its members to assess the damage to farmers and ranchers across the state to determine their needs. What we do know is that the resiliency of our farm families is evident in the aftermath of the category 4 Hurricane Ian that ripped through Southwest Florida.
Farmers and ranchers are facing widespread destruction of crops, buildings, fencing and other property loss due to substantial wind and water damage. Southwest Florida farm families are without power and off the grid. They face weeks of rebuilding.
In areas of the citrus belt, there has been significant fruit dropped from the trees. Not only has there been loss of human life, but livestock and dairy farms have been devastated by the wrath of Hurricane Ian.
Masses of honey bee colonies, submerged in water, are in distress. Bee pollination is critical to the livelihood of our state’s plants and crops, and is just one example of the long-term effects of this deadly storm.
Farmers and ranchers throughout the region are repairing greenhouses, structures, irrigation systems and other machinery and equipment.
Farmers as far north as St. Augustine are facing flooded vegetable fields. It will take days or weeks to assess the damage of Hurricane Ian. Many farm families are still cutting their way through down trees and power lines and battling flooded roads and blown-out culverts to evaluate the damage.
Florida Farm Bureau encourages its members to take advantage of an assessment survey developed by UF/IFAS researchers to help collect information about the losses and damages from Hurricane Ian.
One thing is for certain. Despite challenges, Florida farmers and ranchers remain unwavering in their commitment to produce the food and fiber that millions of Americans depend on.