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Michael Hits Georgia Pecan Farmers Hard, Prices Likely to Rise

October 17th, 2018 by Mike Vasilinda
While much of nation has focused on the loss of life and damage along the Gulf coast, Michael also caused significant damage to crops in South Georgia.
The losses could hit pecan pie lovers in the pocket book this holiday season.
Michael whipped a pecan orchard with 125 mile an hour winds, dropping two million pounds on the ground.
“Thirty to forty percent of the pecan trees are gone, in my opinion,” said fourth generation pecan grower, Eric Cohen. “Basically the storm Michael went right through the heart, I mean, where the majority of the pecans are at.”
South Georgia and north Florida grow the bulk of the nations pecans.
The damage at Cohen’s orchard isn’t unique.
Farmers across South Georgia have been hit hard, which means prices are likely to rise.
“I mean, half the crop gone, it’s got to affect the price some,” said Cohen.
Cotton and peanuts were also hit hard.
“This is the worst thing that anybody’s every seen in South Georgia, and North Florida,” said Tommy Dollar with Dollar Family Farms.
The damage brought both the President and Vice President to South Georgia to listen.
“You can see the importance of this when you see the President, Vice President, Secretary of Agriculture come to this part of the world,” said Dollar.
Despite the nuts on the ground being fresh, they can’t be harvested.
“We can’t because there’s so much debris in here, you can’t get them,” said Cohen. “It costs you more to clean up than the crops on the ground.”
The question for growers here is whether  pecans, cotton, corn and peanuts remain a viable business.
It’s a question that won’t be answered for days or even months.
Most farmers have crop damage insurance which will cover much of this years losses, but there’s no help for the downed trees that take ten years or more to break even.

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