When Congress passes disaster bills, the government commonly compensates growers for loss of crops and livestock with the proviso they buy crop insurance in the future so they are protected against catastrophic damage. Companion bills filed by Democrats in the House and Senate would go a step farther by giving farmers the money to pay for the policies — a "terrible" expansion of the federally subsidized program, says a small-farm advocate.
Georgia, the No. 2 cotton state, lost one-third of its crop to Hurricane Michael, said the USDA on Thursday in lowering its estimate of the total U.S. harvest by 7 percent because of storm damage in the Southeast.
For Georgia farmers, Hurricane Michael is "the most widespread and devastating hurricane in recollection," said state Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black. More than 92 poultry barns, housing more than 2 million birds, were destroyed; cotton growers suffered massive losses; and pecan growers lost trees for the third year in a row to a hurricane.
As Hurricane Michael made landfall Wednesday, farmers in the Southeast were still recovering from the devastation caused by Hurricane Florence just weeks ago.