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Irma Impacts Orange Groves, Meat Processing Facilities | Rural Radio Network

Irma Impacts Orange Groves, Meat Processing Facilities

Irma Impacts Orange Groves, Meat Processing Facilities
Fallen fruit sits on the ground below orange trees in Frostproof, Fla., U.S. Hurricane Irma destroyed almost half of the state's citrus crop. (WUWM Photo)

The remnants of Hurricane Irma shut down ports and meat plants in Florida and Georgia this week. Tyson Foods suspended operations at three chicken processing plants in Georgia and a beef facility in Florida to start the week.

The Port of Savannah, Georgia, was closed Monday and Tuesday. The port is home to almost one-third of all U.S. poultry exports, according to Reuters.

Meanwhile, as Florida farmers begin to assess damage from the storm, the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association says early reports from orange growers have found fruit removed from trees and covering the ground.

Oranges knocked to the ground cannot be consumed. In southern Florida, heavy rain also flooded orange groves, forcing growers to pump out standing water to reduce the risk of disease hurting trees.

Florida is ranked first among U.S. states in production value for oranges and in 2015 produced $1.17 billion of the fruit, accounting for 60 percent of the value of total U.S. orange production. The state is also a major producer of tomatoes and sugarcane.

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