55,000 agriculture-related jobs are in danger in the wake of Hurricane Irma, according to a recent University of Florida analysis. Economist and study author Alan Hodges says the storms’ impacts to Florida’s growers are unprecedented. Because the state's second largest industry depends on so many other suppliers and distributors, and fuels so many local economies, Hodges says the ripple effects are not limited to growers alone.
In fact, he says workers indirectly employed by the ag industry – truckers, equipment sellers, mechanics and small business owners – will likely see more job losses than farmworkers themselves.
“That covers you know the fast food worker at the McDonalds where the farmworkers eat. The clothing store where farmers buy their clothes, the car dealer where they buy their vehicles and so forth,” Hodges said. "So when you add those in, it more than doubles the estimated impacts."
He says the estimated $1.8 billion dollars in crop losses will likely snowball into nearly $2.4 billion in lost income. Local and state governments will miss out on approximately $214 million in tax revenues.