Georgia Farm Bureau President Gerald Long joined Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black this week in assessing the damage from Hurricane Matthew in South Georgia.
The two visited a few farming operations in Tattnall, Evans, and Screven counties.
“After surveying the damage I think it is safe to say that it is certainly not as bad as it could have been, but it is quite a bit worse than we expected it to be,” Commissioner Black said.
Pecans were one of the hardest hit commodities in the region, with many farmers losing up to one third of their operation. Dozens of the downed trees were over 100 years olds. A new tree needs at least seven years to begin producing.
“It was truly devastating to see our farmers facing the situation they are in. This will not just be a one-year hit, but a long-term effect that will take years for our growers to overcome,” said President Long in a press release. “We at Farm Bureau will continue to work with the department to do anything we can to assist these farmers.”
The cotton and peanut crops also suffered, as both are near harvest. The strong winds damaged many fields and the heavy rains soaking the cotton will leave many farmers with a product selling for a less than desirable price.
“It can be hard to quantify damages in situations like these. The losses that occur are not always clear-cut.” Black said. “Anytime you have a major disruption to the production cycle, you are going to have a cost associated with it as well.”
He did not comment on any means of assistance or course of actions for the affected farmers.