Alabama Cotton Hit Hard By Hurricane Michael

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Damage to the region's more than 200,000 cotton acres reaches almost US$ 108 million.

Hurricane Michael caused almost US$ 204 million in agricultural damage alone as it moved across Alabama. Alabama Cooperative Extension System Director Gary Lemme called it a devastating blow to farmers in the state's Wiregrass region. "Cotton farmers suffered the greatest losses," said Lemme. "But the storm affected every portion of Wiregrass agriculture, including row crops, livestock, poultry and timber as well as fruit and vegetable production."

Damage

Alabama Extension professionals spent the days following Michael evaluating actual losses in eight counties-Barbour, Coffee, Covington, Dale, Geneva, Henry, Houston and Russell. "Houston County alone suffered more than US$ 100 million in storm damage to agriculture & agribusinesses," said Lemme. "Geneva County was battered for an almost US$ 39 million loss, & Henry County accounts for more than US$ 30 million." Damage to the region's more than 200,000 cotton acres reaches almost US$ 108 million. Farm structures including irrigation systems and agribusinesses, such as cotton gins and peanut buying points, took extensive damage as well. Storms destroyed about 200 centre pivot irrigation systems. Damage to those systems alone accounts for US$ 9.6 million, while structural damage on farms & at agribusinesses reaches another US$ 11.9 million. Lemme said Extension staff working with United States Department of Agriculture and agribusiness leaders used a systematic approach to estimate losses. The damages represent the first part of a report Alabama Extension will submit November 1 to local, state and federal officials.        

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