U.S. Secretary Sonny Perdue assesses crop damage in Moultrie

    Irma didn’t just damage cars and homes here in Southwest Georgia. In fact, it affected one of Georgia’s leading industries, agriculture.

    U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, came to Moultrie Friday afternoon to assess the crop damage caused by the storm.

    “We’re moving on,” Perdue said. “We’re going to pick up and keep on going because that’s what we’ve always done.”

    Those were some of the encouraging words from Perdue after seeing the destruction.

    Moultrie has dealt with multiple natural disasters in the past, including January’s storms, and farmers were hoping to bounce back.

    “Most folks in agriculture really needed a good one this time," Sam Watson, farmer, said. "It’s been tough, and we really needed a good crop."

    According to Watson, most of the damage to these crops was from the strong winds.

    “It has laid a lot of our crop down, and has ripped a lot of the leaves,” he said. “It has exposed it to disease, on the vegetable side. On the cotton side, it laid a lot of the plants over. The cotton was defoliated, and we got a lot of cotton on the ground.”

    Watson said they estimate about a 20 percent crop loss, but it’s still a little too early to tell. They have to finish out the season, invest more money than before and hope for the best.

    Farmers believe that Perdue’s visit will be the first step in creating a plan to help farmers affected all around.

    “We are going to do everything the law allows to be as generous, compassionate, and quick as we possibly can to help you all restore as much as you can,” Perdue said.

    Farmers with damaged crops are encouraged to call one of the agriculture disaster contacts, if needed.

    United States Department of Agriculture Disaster Contacts:

    Farm Service Agency 706.546.2266

    Natural Resources Conservation Service 706.546.2272

    Rural Development 706.546.2162

    Risk Management Agency 229.242.7235

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