Farmers Hit Hard by Hurricane Matthew
Hurricane Matthew caused major damage to crops in St. Johns County as it blasted its way up the east coast of Florida last Friday with damaging winds and an abundance of rainfall. The impacts on crops were especially felt in Hastings, the agricultural area of the county. Approximately 1,100 acres of crops were impacted by the damaging winds and inundating rainfall in St. Johns County.
Asian vegetables and snap beans were the most severely affected, along with cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, squash, mustard greens, sweet corn and sweet potatoes. Losses are estimated at least $1.6 million for Asian vegetables and snap beans alone. Structural damage to greenhouses and other farm structures resulted, and the soggy grounds have delayed planting of much of the area’s fall crops.
On average, St. Johns County farmers have reported 30 to 60% losses of their planted acreage, while several have experienced a 100% or total loss for the crops they had in the ground before the storm. However, the full impact will be known in time as damage assessments are ongoing. In addition to crop losses, producers are also facing costs involved with labor to clean up and replant damaged acres.
Agriculture in St. Johns County has an annual economic impact of more than $180 million.
For more information on farms and farming in St. Johns County, visit the IFAS Extension office website at: www.stjohns.ifas.ufl.edu