(WGXA): Ga. congressmen, U.S. Agriculture Secretary tour farms damaged by Irma
FORT VALLEY, Ga. -- Georgia Congressmen Sanford Bishop and Austin Scott along with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and other officials spent Friday morning touring farms damaged by Tropical Storm Irma, including pecan crops in Fort Valley and other areas.
Perdue said that because pecan trees are generational crops, meaning they can't just be planted one season and harvested the next, the widespread loss of these trees from the storm translates to a massive revenue loss for farmers.
He said the Georgia pecan crop is exported nationwide and even internationally, so it is important that these farmers get the assistance they need to get back on their feet.
Perdue, Scott and Bishop said the main purpose of touring the damage Friday is to learn how to write legislation and set policy that will allow for an insurance product to protect non-traditional crops like pecans.
Scott said the goal is to develop an affordable insurance program that will minimize loss when disasters such as Irma cause widespread damage like that which was seen as a result of the storm.
Irma barreled through Georgia Monday, taking down trees and power lines and causing wind damage throughout the state.
Due to shallow roots and heavy branches, pecan trees are particularly susceptible to wind damage.
Wendy Barton, Marketing Director with Lane's Orchards in Fort Valley, said that she has never seen damage to pecan trees like this in her 12 years in the business.