[image-1]In a statement from the South Carolina Department of Agriculture today, Commissioner Hugh E. Weathers reports that as many as 25,000 may have been affected by Tropical Storm Irma on Monday.

“Early reports indicate somewhat minimal crop losses, but ultimately time will tell. With localized rains, flooding and heavy winds, a large part of farmers’ recovery will depend on how quickly fields drain and when crops can be harvested,” said Weathers says.

The arrival of Irma marked the third year a major storm has hit the state. According to SCDA, “Farmers experienced a $375 million loss of crops in 2015 from Hurricane Joaquin and another $52 million in 2016 from Hurricane Matthew.” The department won’t be able to crunch the numbers on Irma for some time, but even with the heavy rains on Monday, the statement suggests that the state’s $42 billion industry suffered minimal crop damage.

Farmers are asked to report any losses to their Clemson University County Extension agent, to complete an official ESF-17 Damage Assessment Form.