In Florida, hemp and hops could be considered as alternatives for the crops that were destroyed by Hurricane Michael. According to some officials in the state, the need for alternatives is great, as farmers in the region have suffered greatly from the devastating flood. There’s said to be an estimated $1.5 billion damage in the state’s agricultural industry, as a result of the flood.
Convincing Growers and Ranchers
State officials have however agreed that the first step is to convince rangers and growers on what could be the best alternative for the fields, most particularly farmers who are involved in the timber industry, which accounts for more than $1.28 billion in losses. Operators of the timber industry will have to go through decades of cultivation before the trees can mature.
Officials are encouraging operators to look for other alternatives. They believe that something must be done on these businesses that are bringing huge income for the state. However, farm operators are hesitant. But if they take the risk, there’s a good chance that they will be able to bring in more income out of the lands that were destroyed.
Tomato and Cotton Crops Are Also Affected
Aside from the timber industry, the cotton and tomato crops were also affected. These industries are near total loss as both crops were already close to being harvested. On the other hand, cattle deaths have been pretty significant. Due to the damage of the fencing, it will take several weeks to round up and bring the surviving animals back.
Growers of these crops are truly faced with serious problems. This is why they need the help of the government to help them get back on track. In response, the government launched a workshop for farmers regarding management strategies, most especially those that are in the timber industry.
Hemp Hops as Alternative
Hemp, which is being promoted by Florida’s agricultural commissioner, comes with many uses. These uses include medicinal benefits due to the presence of cannabidiol. It can also be used in making several other products, such as clothing and rope. In other states, hemp is, in fact, being processed as food, such as sausage, which is a combination of pork and hemp. It may not be the best tasting sausage out there but it’s not really that bad.
Meanwhile, hops also come with similar uses. But mainly, they can serve as the main ingredient for craft breweries. In fact, the number of breweries in the state has increased to 243 from only 66 in 2013.
Other alternatives that officials are considering are olives and other citrus varieties, such as lupines and satsuma. All are capable of producing oil that can be used for biodiesel and are also ingredients for high protein food products. The hurricane’s damage to the state’s agricultural industry came about a year after hurricane Irma caused significant damage to the citrus growers in various areas of the state.