Winter storms decimate Florida crops

The recent spate of wild winter storms that affected much of the southeast states took a heavy toll on the Florida agriculture industry. South Florida farmers report that their crops – many of which are close to harvesting – sustained heavy damage from the weekend storms that extended into Monday.

Dry overall conditions in the region meant that rain was a welcome relief, but the accompanying high gusts of wind up to 50 miles per hour did the most damage. The winds broke tender shoots and leaves and exposed plants to scalding from the strong rays of the Florida sun after the storms moved on.

Crops that got hit hardest

Growers are still getting out into their fields, assessing damage from the storms. But thus far, it is apparent that peppers, eggplant, squash, Boston and Romaine lettuce all were affected at various farms in southern Florida fields. Some damage may not show up for weeks until the plants reach a certain stage of maturity.

When damage is widespread, it causes shortages. This causes fluctuations in the market for both retailers and consumers and can affect growers’ bottom lines.

Will crop insurance pay off claims?

Savvy farmers don’t rely on luck or prayers when they plant their crops. They purchase crop insurance to make sure that if the bottom falls out of the market due to the weather, disease, drought or other perils, they won’t be left destitute or lose their farms.

However, that doesn’t mean that the industry is without its own share of rip-off artists. Both private insurance companies and government subsidized crop insurance programs have been targets of scams and schemes intended to defraud consumers and taxpayers. Some involve denying legitimate claims while others focus on elaborate plots to pay out large sums for phony claims when there was never any damage.

The American farmer is the lifeblood of the nation and deserves assistance when disaster strikes and affects their livelihood. If you are a Florida grower whose fields were wind-damaged in the January 2017 winter storms, you may be able to collect compensation. If you get the runaround, however, seek legal assistance in order to receive what you are owed by your insurance company.