US: Aerial photos of hurricane damage on Florida cane crop expected next week

Published: 09/14/2017, 6:53:24 AM

Hurricane Irma dealt Florida's iconic orange crop a devastating blow, destroying nearly all the fruit in some Southwest Florida groves and seriously damaging groves in Central Florida, according to the Associated Press.

U.S. Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio toured groves in Lake Wales on Wednesday and heard from growers, who pleaded for federal assistance.

The sugar cane harvest was expected to begin Oct. 1. Producers had anticipated a "very good" crop of around 2.1 million tons, said Ryan Weston, CEO of the Florida Sugar Cane League. Aerial observations this week should start showing how much was knocked down, he said.

"A big concern for growers is finding available workers to help them in their recovery efforts," Lochridge said. "The labor supply was already very tight."