New assessments by Georgia state officials show that damage to the state’s ag industry from Hurricane Michael is up to $3 billion. Ag Commissioner Gary Black says, “These are generational losses that are unprecedented and it will take unprecedented ideas and actions to help our farm families and rural communities recover.”
One million acres of timber were damaged, adding up to $1 billion dollars in bottom-line damage to the timber industry. Other industries like cotton, peanuts, poultry, vegetables, and pecans were also hit very hard by Michael. Black says, “Unfortunately, our worst thoughts were realized. We saw months and years worth of hard work just laid over on the ground in a matter of seconds.” Black adds that Georgia has led the nation in producing several commodities and now have the dubious distinction of leading in devastation to those same crops.
Bainbridge, Georgia, farmer Eric Cohen tells the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Michael will probably put them out of business. “It’s the storm we always feared,” Cohen says. “Farming is the heartbeat of south Georgia. It won’t just be the farming industry that’s hurting, either.”