Hurricane Irma cost Florida sugar sector $383 million, official says

(Reuters) - Damage from Hurricane Irma will cost the state of Florida’s sugarcane crops an estimated $383 million, the state agriculture commissioner said on Wednesday.

The state experienced more than $2.5 billion in crop damage from last month’s hurricane, based on preliminary data form the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Florida sugar cane accounts for nearly a quarter of sugar produced in the United States, according to the USDA.

“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, and close to $238 million worth of beef cattle damage, the preliminary report said.“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.

To see the report, click:

Reporting by Renita D. Young in New York; Editing by James Dalgleish