Dairy Industry Stirred by Hurricanes
Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 hurricane with 175-mph winds, carved a path of destruction through the Caribbean early last month, leaving more than a million residents without power, thousands without homes, and killing at least a dozen people. The eye of the storm passed just north of Puerto Rico, where flooding and devastation are adding to their current economic crisis.
Then, only 2+ weeks later, Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm. The force of the storm left even more destruction, ripping up trees, decimating almost 90% of the agriculture, leveling dairy barns and industrial chicken coops, and killing or scattering the animals. It will take a least a year or more to recover from the hurricanes.
Even dairy farms that weren’t destroyed sustained losses because the dairy products could not be transported due to the flooding and debris.
Irma also affected the dairy industry in Florida where many tanker loads of milk were dumped because processing plants shut down milk lines in favor of producing water. The cows had to be milked but most of the southern parts of Florida were without power or impassable, so transporting the milk was futile. Thousands of gallons of milk were simply dumped until power returned and roads were cleared. In Texas, most of the impact was due to Hurricane Harvey, not Irma or Maria. Thousands of cattle were stranded and feed crops were compromised.
Dairy Farmers Deal with the Aftermath
Significant investments will be required to rebuild the communities and farms destroyed by this year’s hurricanes, both in the southern United States and in the Caribbean. As the reconstruction occurs, measures are being taken to make agriculture and food production more resilient to the impact of climate change.
Fortunately, you have a global partner in the dairy market with over 35 years of wholesale dairy and wholesale milk trade experience. Interra International’s dairy supply chain is worldwide, getting you the products you need to run your business effectively from a variety of locations. From wholesale dairy and powdered milks to fresh egg products and milk, we offer reliable sources to meet your operational needs. Contact us for more information.