Hurricane Michael inflicted nearly $1.5 billion in losses to Florida agriculture, Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putman announced Friday.
By far, the timber industry bore the worst of it, losing $1.3 billion.
“Hurricane Michael devastated the Florida Panhandle, and many of Florida’s rural communities, which rely heavily on agriculture, took the worst hit,” Putnam said in a written statement.
“As we continue to rebuild, we must prioritize rural economic development programs at the local, state and federal levels,” he said.
The figures are based on data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Florida Forest Service, Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and industry sources.
“These are early estimates and the total agricultural economic losses resulting from Hurricane Michael may change,” the department said.
Losses per sector include nearly $50 million in cotton; $43 million in cattle; $23 in peanuts; $16 million in nurseries; $10 million in poultry and eggs; $8.6 million in vegetables; $7.2 million in other field crops; $6.4 million in dairy; $5 million in aquaculture; $4.4 million in fruit; and $4 million in tree nuts including pecans.
The department defines losses as reduced sales due to wind or flooding, decreased yields, spoiled products, and dead livestock. The total also includes cleanup, additional feed or harvest costs, and damage to land and equipment.