Pecan farmers cleaning up after Irma damage

Irma damages pecan trees in Fort Valley

FORT VALLEY, GA.-- - After Irma many people are still recovering. Now even pecan farmers are assessing the damage.

Just driving around Fort Valley you can see the widespread damage Irma left behind for pecan farmers. Farmer, Lawton Pearson, says after heavy winds from Irma Monday, they noticed fallen tree limbs and uprooted trees. He says 20% to 30% of his crops were lost.

"A lot of limbs like that are going to have to be cut up top. They're hanging and they won't fall on their own,” says Pearson.

He says now instead of getting ready to harvest they will be cleaning up and replanting. Pearson says it has been a rough year for his peaches and pecans after a tornado, a freeze, and now a tropical storm.

"We've been through tropical storms before. In 2004 we had one that knocked down some trees. But I don't know that the state of Georgia has seen this kind of damage from Valdosta all the way up to Macon in the pecan belt. It's pretty wide spread,” says Pearson.

He says it is going to take about a month to clean up these down limbs and trees. Pearson says down the road it may have an effect on the upcoming pecan season.

"Obviously the volume of nuts is going to be down. I don't know if that is going to equate to an increase price. It could but it may not. So all in all we still have a crop to pick up. We have a lot to do and we're just going to get after it,” says Pearson.

He says even after a season full of bad weather sometimes it is more helpful to be grateful for the trees that stood strong. The start of pecan harvest starts the second week in October. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said its disaster assistance programs could help farmers replant and rehabilitate damaged crops.

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