Florida Ranchers Lose $238 Million to Irma

Hurricane Irma cost Florida’s cattle ranchers $238 million. That’s based on preliminary data from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

Overall, Florida saw $2.5 billion in damage to agriculture from Irma last month, NASS estimates.

More than 1.7 million cattle and calves graze approximately 6.5 million acres in Florida, with annual sales of $549 million. A statewide survey of ranches following the hurricane revealed the following losses:

  • An estimated 100 dead animals, each with a market value of $800, at a loss of $80,000.
  • An estimated 187,000 calves awaiting to be shipped to out-of-state feedlots, currently in stressful conditions, will each lose about 50 lbs in weight (loss of $75 per calf), with losses valued at $14,025,000.
  • Forage crops have been severely affected by floods, and as a result many ranchers who lost forage crops to flooding will have to purchase additional hay and supplements to feed their animals during the coming winter. An estimated 45 additional feeding days (hay and supplement valued at $1.85 per day per head) for 601,250 cows, will result in unexpected hay and supplement purchases valued at $50,054,062.
  • For further details on Florida damage, click here. 

“Florida agriculture took it on the chin as Hurricane Irma pummeled the state, and the $2.5 billion in agricultural damages is only an initial assessment,” said Adam H. Putnam, Florida commissioner of agriculture.

The state saw nearly $761 million in citrus damages, $625 in greenhouse, nursery and floriculture damage, in addition to the $238 million damage to Florida’s cattle industry.

“We’re likely to see even greater economic losses as we account for loss of future production and the cost to rebuild infrastructure,” Putnam said.

The NASS report also noted forage crops have been severely affected by floods, and as a result many ranchers who lost forage crops to flooding will have to purchase additional hay and supplements to feed their animals during the coming winter. NASS estimated an additional 45 feeding days (hay and supplement valued at $1.85 per day per head) for 601,250 cows, will result in unexpected hay and supplement purchases valued at $50,054,062.

As a result of floods and widespread damage to ranch infrastructure, NASS expects up to 7% of Florida’s cows will not carry calves to weaning or even breed this year. This is an estimated loss of 52,500 calves, each with a value of $787, or $41,317,500.

NASS also estimated 150,000 acres of pasture has experienced significant erosion and flood damage as a result of Hurricane Irma. Renovating these areas will cost around $40 per acre in replanting and related costs, for a total cost of $6,000,000.

Of the more than 18,000 beef cattle ranches in Florida, NASS estimates 6,000 suffered significant damages to structures, fences, and equipment, and also have large amounts of storm debris that must be cleaned up.

NASS said total crops losses to beef cattle producers in Florida are estimated to be $14,105,000.

Total losses, including crop losses, to beef cattle producers in the state are estimated to be $237,476,562.

 

Latest News

Winter cattle feeding
Cash Cattle Weaker As Grain Rallies

Cash cattle prices slipped lower throughout the week as packer demand was called moderate. Grain markets posted a significant rally on the heels of USDA's report on Tuesday.

2 hours ago
Packing plant workers
Fired Tyson Managers: ‘Betting Pool’ Stories Distorted

Former Tyson Foods Waterloo, Iowa, plant managers dispute claims of how an "office pool" regarding COVID-19 was portrayed in news stories and deny it was about how many employees would contract the virus.

1 hour ago
Dream Lake with Hallett Peak in the background, at Rocky Mountain National Park.
Hi-Plains Researchers To Help Protect Rocky Mountain National Park

A Texas A&M AgriLife team will work with the Colorado Livestock Association and other stakeholders to refine and evaluate practices to reduce agricultural ammonia emissions into Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park.

12 min ago
AL Ranch
Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. Launches “MBA NextGen”

MBA NextGen updates the popular MBA training modules making it easier than ever for a new generation of farmers and ranchers to share their story and advocate knowledgeably for the beef industry.

8 min ago
Greg Henderson
Overall Meat Sales Higher In 2020

Meat sales - both dollar values and volume - were significantly higher in 2020. Those gains, however, came at the expense of a crippled restaurant and food service industry that may take years to recover.

9 min ago
Progressive Beef
Progressive Beef and Wendy’s® Advance Partnership

Wendy's announces 15% increase in percentage of beef sourced through Progressive Beef-certified producers in 2020; on track to meet goal of at least 50% this year.

14 min ago