Preliminary research conducted by the University of Florida estimates that Florida’s agricultural losses from Hurricane Idalia totaled between $78 million and $371 million.
Late last month, Hurricane Idalia made landfall as a Category 3 storm in the Big Bend region of Florida, bringing heavy rain, a storm surge, and strong winds. Crops like peanuts and cotton, as well as cattle, poultry, and aquaculture sectors, were wiped out in agricultural villages due to the storm.
Losses in cattle alone might be in the range of $30.9 million to $123.4 million, according to the initial study conducted by the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida. Damage to greenhouse and nursery products was estimated at $4.7 million to $68.8 million, while damage to field and row crops was estimated at $30.7 million to $93.6 million.
The inquiry revealed that six counties in northern Florida took the brunt of the hurricane’s destruction. Madison, Hamilton, Lafayette, Taylor, and Dixie are just some of the counties in question. According to the analysis, however, the area of Florida hit by winds strong enough to be classified as a tropical storm was much more significant than previously thought.
Irrigation systems, fence lines, and roofs of farm buildings across the state were severely damaged by the storm, although the researchers acknowledged their limited ability to evaluate the damage.
There was street and land flooding due to Idalia’s storm surge, which could reach heights of up to 11 feet and had maximum sustained winds of 125 miles per hour.
As a result of its lower elevation, the Big Bend region of the state was not nearly as well prepared for hurricanes as the rest of the state. Experts told The Hill a month ago that the area was unprepared for tropical storms and at high risk for devastating flooding and ecological damage.
The researchers claim that their predictions will improve once the ground checks are complete.