Pecans

uprooted pecan tree
Grant Blankenship/ GPB

Georgia pecan farmers are figuring out the next steps in the recovery from Hurricane Michael after losing $250 million in trees.


Courtesy of AP Images

It takes about a decade to grow a productive pecan tree and a matter of minutes to take one down. A University of Georgia specialist estimates Hurricane Michael's 100 mph winds left 75 percent of pecan crops unharvestable in several south Georgia counties. UGA also estimates a total of $2 billion in losses to the state's agriculture industry.

Five months after the storm, many farmers are still picking up the pieces. "On Second Thought" has been following up with growers ever since the storm. Randy Hudson's family has run Hudson Pecan Company in Irwin County for more than 150 years. Rob Cohen owns Pecan Ridge Plantation in Decatur County. He's been in the family business for several decades. Cohen and Hudson gave updates on their crops as a new season begins.


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Today on the show, we surveyed the state to discuss issues of educational policy, in addition to farming after Hurricane Michael.

GPB reporter Grant Blankenship spoke about about gubernatorial candidates Stacey Abrams and Brian Kemp's visions for Georgia's education system. We also spoke with farmers, comissioners, and representatives from the Georgia Farm Bureau about the devastating loss of crops in southeast and southwest Georgia due to hurricane damage.

Georgia Department of Agriculture

Hurricane Michael swept across south Georgia last week, devastating the state's pecan orchards, cotton plants, chicken coops and peanut crops. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administrator Brock Long said Monday the true cost of the devastation won't be clear for some time. Irwin County pecan grower Randy Hudson and Berrien County cotton grower Mark Peele told "On Second Thought" they expect it could take generations for Georgia farmers to recoup their losses — if ever.

"You can't walk away, but then I'm sitting here with such a dead load," said Hudson, a fifth-generation pecan farmer. "How do I repay this now? How do I start over?"


Georgia Department of Agriculture

President Donald Trump was in Georgia Monday to survey the damage from Hurricane Michael. The storm killed at least 19 people. Michael also ravaged Georgia's agriculture industry, splitting decades — and even centuries — old pecan trees down the middle and stripping cotton plants across thousands of acres in South Georgia.

 

"We lead the nation in pecan production, peanut production, forest products production ... in cotton and vegetables, but, unfortunately, today, we lead in destruction," Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black told "On Second Thought."


Georgia Pecan Farmers Vote In Marketing Effort

Mar 9, 2016
Grant Blankenship/GPB

Voters across the country are choosing candidates in the presidential election. But pecan farmers in Georgia and more than a dozen other states are voting in an election of their own. It’s part of a proposal for better marketing.