Idalia Aftermath: Power Restoration a Priority for South Georgia Producers

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Submitted photo/Trying to get to fields in Lake Park, Georgia, on Wednesday.

By Clint Thompson

Hurricane Idalia’s path through Southeast Georgia left many powerless. It is a concern for those with fall vegetable crops in that part of the state, says Chris Butts, executive vice president of the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association.

“That area we’re hearing from, Lake Park, appears to be hit particularly hard with tons of trees down and power outages. That’s our immediate triage need now is getting power restored and generators to these folks who do have fall crops already planted,” Butts said. “They’re going to need to irrigate. We don’t want to leave those crops out there and lose whatever the storm didn’t get. Getting that power back on and irrigation restored is our immediate concern for those guys.”

Mainly peppers and squash were impacted in that area that was in the direct line of Idalia as it moved across the region on Wednesday. The storm packed high winds and drenched some fields with excessive rains.

“I think the amount of rain varied tremendously by area. We needed some of that for sure to alleviate some of those deficits from this summer. Too much of a good thing can be just as bad as not enough. There are some areas that I think got too much,” Butts said.

Chris Butts

Other Crops

Butts said Georgia’s citrus trees fared well, but young blueberry plants sustained wind damage.

“It will be some time until we get a true sense of crop damage, but overall, when we’re sitting there the night before it came ashore looking at a Category 4, I think the lack of widespread damage was certainly a blessing,” Butts said. “It doesn’t help those folks in the areas that have been hit really hard. We’re going to do all we can for them. We were very blessed not to see more widespread damage.”