The House of Representatives recently approved $81 billion to provide relief to areas affected by more than 16 natural disasters that occurred in 2017. However, the H.R. 4667 bill only provides $2.6 billion to be used for agricultural expenses related to “crops, trees, bushes, vines, and livestock losses” caused by natural disasters. The cumulative total of agricultural losses from California wildfires, Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana, Hurricane Irma in Florida and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, was more than $5.7 billion.
Between the cost of lost cows, destroyed feed supplies and damage to barns and other infrastructure, Hurricane Harvey cost the Texas beef industry roughly $93 million. The nation’s third-largest rice producing state, Louisiana, had over 78 thousand acres of harvested rice either lost or impacted by the rains. The estimated value of the lost crops was $59.3 million. Overall agricultural losses caused by Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana totaled $200 million.
The early estimate of ag damage caused by the Thomas Fire alone is over $171 million. Napa and Sonoma counties lost an estimated $175 million worth of unharvested Cabernet grapes to wildfires. The value of the grapes that were tainted by smoke is estimated to be $29 million. Cherimoya fruit damaged by fire in Santa Barbara was valued at $5 million.
Florida had more than $382 million worth of sugarcane destroyed or damaged. The cost to replace blueberry acreage will be more than $8.2 million. Florida dairy also lost close to $10 million due to lowered prices, dumping milk and heat-stressed cows producing less. Aquaculture was affected by losses totaling $17.5 million. The Florida beef industry had combined losses of more than $55 million.