Putnam says Hurricane Irma will hurt agriculture industry

From nursery businesses in Miami-Dade County to citrus growers in Central Florida, the agriculture industry will take a hit from Hurricane Irma, state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said.

Putnam, who is running for governor next year, said during an interview on Fox 13 in Tampa that protecting people is the priority, but, based on past storms, the powerful hurricane will negatively impact Florida growers.

“The current storm path projections come right up the heart of Florida's agricultural lands,” Putnam said Friday. “The landscape and nursery businesses in south Dade County, around Homestead. The tropical fruits businesses. Avocados. The citrus and sugarcane industries in South Florida and throughout the interior. Fruit size on grapefruit trees along the Indian River is now of such a size that it is indeed pretty heavy and will undoubtedly be blown off the trees in significant ways.”

Putnam said he will ride out the storm at his home in Bartow.

“I'm hoping we're not going to notch a fourth hurricane eye over the top of my little town,” Putnam said. “The beautiful trees that were there prior to (Hurricane) Charlie (in 2004), they're just not the same anymore.”