News and Stories

UPDATE: Hurricane Irma Impacts Fall Crops

September 12, 2017

Hurricane Irma made landfall in the Florida Keys as a Category Four hurricane on Sunday, September 10. The storm tracked north along Florida’s western coastline, affecting the growing regions of Naples, Immokalee, Ruskin, and Plant City before bringing heavy downpours and high wind speeds to Georgia and the Carolinas. Growers are assessing damage in all affected regions, although the most severe problems are expected in Southern Florida.

  • Southern Florida serves as a primary winter production region for commodities that include bell peppers, cucumbers, squashes, tomatoes, strawberries and citrus
    • Approximately 20% of fall and winter vegetable plantings were underway at the time of the storm’s impact
    • Although landfall was made on the southwestern coast of Florida, heavy flooding and wind damage will disrupt production throughout Southern Florida
    • The regions affected include Naples, Immokalee, Ruskin, Palmetto, La Belle, Loxahatchee, Belle Glade, and Clewiston
    • Growers are estimating a four to six week minimum recovery time in the region to germinate seeds, prepare ground, and re-plant
  • Georgia, Tennessee, and the Carolinas received less damage, as the storms intensity weakened after moving north
  • Short-term freight costs are expected to rise as demand for trucks increases to support emergency relief efforts
  • An immediate impact on East Coast supply levels is not expected as harvesting in Michigan and North Carolina remains underway
  • Significant supply gaps are forecast by early November when Florida’s growers typically begin shipping
  • Mainland Mexican growing regions will become a key supply source during the 2017-2018 winter season as growers in Florida struggle to rebuild this season’s crops

Markon will continue to update members when more information becomes available.

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