As much of the metro Atlanta region resets the clocks on their microwaves and coffeemakers this morning, and suffers through the inconveniences of internet outages and tree limbs on our lawns, it’s worth noting that while we may be late to work, we still have jobs to go to, and none of us is worried that this years’ earnings are at risk. But last weeks hard freeze has pretty much killed off Georgia’s blueberry crop for the year, eliminating between 80 and 90 percent of the entire harvest worth by some estimates more than $200 million.
“Economically speaking, that’s gonna translate to, in Appling County alone, about $20 to $25 million,” said [blueberry grower Allen] Miles.
It will likely hurt not only growers, but anybody that does business with them.
“We’re down to 50 people doing what 400 were doing. So, we’re down 350 employees,” said Miles.
Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black and Georgia House Agricultural Committee Chairman Tom McCall toured south Georgia to assess the damage earlier this week, as reported in the Atlanta Business Chronicle.
“We saw blueberry fields that had the potential to be the biggest and best crop of Georgia’s production history that you would now not be able to find enough blueberries that survived the cold to make one pie,” Black said.”
In and around Atlanta, we talk a lot about the movie and television industry, which contributed $7 billion to Georgia’s economy last year –a fantastic that was nearly zero less than a decade ago. But Georgia’s agricultural sector is more than 10 times that amount.
While there is such crop insurance, “Growers with insurance could get repaid for about half their crop. Allen hopes those companies settle up sooner than later so growers can start to focus on next year. As growers wait for insurance companies to decide what they’ll do, all they can do is watch and wait.”
So as you call your cable company and sit on hold to try to figure out when service will be restored, try to remember that your annoyance doesn’t compare to someone waiting to be told how much less they will earn this year.
It doesn’t even come close.