IVAN AGRICULTURAL DAMAGE TOPS $866 MILLION
Preliminary figures indicate damage from Hurricane Ivan has cost Alabama farmers more than $866 million, but it could be months before the full effect of the storm is calculated.
The state's timber industry was the hardest hit by the storm. Based on preliminary data, approximately 290,000 acres of Alabama timberland was damaged by the storm. The value of downed timber was placed at $700 million.
Damage to the state's cotton crop ranges from moderate to severe, and varies on a field-by-field basis except in the hardest hit areas of southwest Alabama. It is estimated Alabama farmers lost approximately 390,000 bales of cotton, with an economic value of about $127 million. Additional damage from boll rot and harvesting losses, especially on the later cotton, is expected.
Damage to the state's corn crop has been estimated at $2 million, while soybean damage is believed to be $650,000. Peanut farmers reported losses of $22 million.
Hurricane Ivan, which ruined most of Alabama's 2004 pecan crop and destroyed almost 35 percent of the state's total pecan trees, did severe damage to the state's top pecan producing counties and caused an estimated $14.8 million in damages.
The state's greenhouse, nursery and sod ndustry also suffered heavy damage with estimates of $20 million in lost production. That figure could increase as evaluations continue.
Livestock producers in the hardest-hit areas reported significant damage to fences, barns and other structures, but few animals were injured. Peach growers reported damage in some areas with losses estimated at $50,000.
Many poultry producers reported torn or loose tin on roofs, roofs that were lifted causing loose nails, torn curtains and loss of power. The majority of poultry mortality occurred when generators failed for one reason or another, causing birds to smother. Still, total losses were light.