Industry Discusses Impacts of Hurricane Ian; Nick Wishnatzki, Michelle Grainger, and Alan Lieberman Detail

Industry Discusses Impacts of Hurricane Ian; Nick Wishnatzki, Michelle Grainger, and Alan Lieberman Detail

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MIAMI, FL - Last week, we reported that Hurricane Ian had been nearing Category 5 status and headed in the direction of Florida. After traveling across Florida and coastal South Carolina, Ian has diminished into a post-tropical cyclone. Following the storm, we reached out to several industry members to get a better understanding of its impacts on the area’s growing regions.

Nick Wishnatzki, Public Relations Manager, Wish Farms“Our strawberry farm G&D Farms in Duette, Manatee County, sustained some damage from the wind and rain from Hurricane Ian,” said Nick Wishnatzki, Public Relations Manager at Wish Farms, in a statement to ANUK. “Fortunately, we held off planting as we were waiting to see Ian’s path. Around 10–15 percent of the plastic beds were ripped up, a few fields were completely submerged under water, and dirt was blown into the fields changing some of the grading. Power was knocked out, but it got restored Saturday morning. There will be additional costs to get back on track, but we don’t foresee any significant delay to the Florida season getting underway in November. Compared to the rest of our neighbors and colleagues in agriculture, we consider ourselves very lucky to have only experienced this limited damage. We urge anyone who can, to donate to the Florida Disaster Fund.”

After its march across Florida to the Atlantic, as noted by Reuters, Ian regained strength and hit coastal South Carolina on Friday, sweeping ashore near Georgetown. North Carolina also felt the impacts of the storm.

Michelle Grainger, Executive Director, North Carolina SweetPotato Commission“On behalf of our industry, we are all praying for all those who were impacted by Ian’s devastating destruction. While we have not received storm reports from all of our growing regions, we have heard from several of our larger production geographies, and it seems that, at this time, the NC Sweetpotato industry was spared significant impact from Ian,” Michelle Grainger, Executive Director of the North Carolina SweetPotato Commission, commented to us. “The rain varied significantly across our largest producing counties. Some were in need of the rain they received and for those that may have gotten a bit more than they would have preferred, the sweetpotatoes were not impacted, as our root vegetables are primarily grown in a sandy loam soil, and it drains quite well. NC Sweetpotato harvest is well underway, and we look forward to providing an incredible crop to all over the course of the year to come.”

According to the source, more heavy rainfall is expected across parts of West Virginia and Western Maryland, with major to record flooding still expected in central Florida.

After traveling across Florida and coastal South Carolina, Hurricane Ian has diminished into a post-tropical cyclone

Speaking to Southern Specialties’ operations, Alan Lieberman also provided an update.

Alan Lieberman, Senior Vice President, Southern Specialties“We are pretty much back to normal with some heavy retail orders from companies re-stocking,” said Lieberman, Senior Vice President. “We are awaiting reports on local regional crops to determine how they may have been affected.”

For more updates on the fresh produce industry, keep clicking on ANUK.