SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - It’s been nearly two weeks since Hurricane Michael decimated the Florida Panhandle before wreaking havoc along Southwest and Central Georgia.
While we feel like we dodged a bullet here in the Coastal Empire, the fact of the matter is - we really didn’t. It is now estimated that Michael did about $3 billion worth of damage. That’s billion with a “B,” in damage to Georgia’s agriculture industry. Almost a third of that total alone comes from timber losses, as the tree damage spans a one-million-acre swath.
No crop was spared, from our cotton fields to our peanut farms, Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black says the losses are both unprecedented and generational.
Seeds that were sowed months ago with hopes of high yield returns are now destroyed. Pecan trees that take years to produce nuts were blown over or broken, and poultry farms - a leading agricultural industry for the state - saw nearly 100 chicken houses leveled with the loss of more than 2 million chickens.
Consider This: Agriculture is a huge industry in our state. It’s estimated to have a $71 billion impact in both direct and indirect revenues. One in seven residents in Georgia is tied to agricultural revenue.
Michael’s fury did more than just destroy the Florida Panhandle. It destroyed a staple of our state’s uniqueness and a staple of our economy, the old fashion family farm. A destruction that will impact our economy for years to come.