Disaster Impact Analysis

COVID-19 Pandemic

In January 2020, the World Health Organization acknowledged the existence of a novel coronavirus (later labeled SARS-CoV-2) and by March had declared the associated novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) a pandemic. Concerns about the infection rate and severity of COVID-19 led government officials around the world to enact restrictive public health measures to mitigate its spread. The pandemic and the associated mitigation policies have significantly affected both the supply and demand sides of the economy, including those sectors comprising the food system.

Survey on Economic Losses for Florida’s Agriculture and Marine Industries

The Economic Impact Analysis Program along with colleagues in the Food and Resource Economics Department quickly converted tools for assessing weather and climate-related disasters to assess the pandemic event and produce credible estimates of the resulting agricultural losses. With help from UF/IFAS Extension, Florida Sea Grant, and partnering industry associations and government agencies, the survey tools were distributed throughout the state and responses were collected from March to Mid-May.

Recorded webinar: Assessing the Impacts of COVID-19 on Florida’s Agriculture and Marine Industries (available below)

Slide presentation: Assessing the Impact of COVID-19 on Florida’s Agriculture and Marine Industries

Shellfish Aquaculture Report: Impacts of COVID-19 on the Florida Shellfish Aquaculture Industry

Qualitative Assessment of COVID-19 Impacts and Adaptations within the Food System

The Economic Impact Analysis Program, in partnership with UF/IFAS Extension and Florida Gulf Coast University,  developed a questionnaire and began conducting interviews with food system stakeholders across the State of Florida. The project represents a collaborative effort to capture the personal impacts and challenges to Florida’s agriculture and food system operations brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Ultimately, the results of this research and analysis will be used to inform decision making at the industry, state and national levels to improve practices and logistics and to ensure the sustainability of the state’s food system in the face of unexpected events that may arise in the future. 

Florida Gulf Coast University’s 2nd Annual Agricultural Forum

UF/IFAS Extension joined colleagues from Florida Gulf Coast University’s Lutgert College of Business (FGCU/LCOB) to summarize progress and share initial impressions from their study of the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic placed on Florida’s food system. The event was hosted by the Center for Agribusiness within FGCU/LCOB and will “kick off” Farm-City Week (Nov. 18-25, 2020). The presentation summarized dozens of interviews with key players in Florida’s agribusiness supply chain and was designed to garner interest in the continuation of this project.

Recorded webinar: The Florida Food System and COVID-19: Documenting effects for a more resilient future (available below)

Slide presentation: The Florida Food System and COVID-19: Documenting effects for a more resilient future

Weather / Climate Disasters


Destroyed cotton field after Hurricane Michael
(October 2018) Source: UF-IFAS

Since 1980, the State of Florida has experienced 48 major natural disasters, including hurricanes and tropical storms, wildfires, droughts, flooding, freezes and other severe weather events. On average, these disasters are associated with a total of $5 - $10 billion in economic losses for the State of Florida each year (NOAA NCEI, 2018). Not surprisingly, natural disasters can cause a variety of damages that result in economic losses to many segments of production agriculture. The Economic Impact Analysis Program is recognized as a reliable and unbiased source for timely provision of credible estimates of the agricultural losses associated with natural disasters.

Hurricane Sally (2020)

Beginning as an area of disturbed weather near the Bahamas, Tropical Storm Sally formed on the evening of September 12, 2020, after briefly impacting the Florida Keys as a tropical depression. Sally gained Hurricane status on September 14th, reaching Category 2 strength prior to landfall on September 16th in Gulf Shores, AL. Sally rapidly weakened after coming ashore as it moved inland over the Florida panhandle and Alabama, eventually degenerating into a remnant low on September 17th.

On September 17, 2020, UF/IFAS Cooperative Extension began visually surveying their territories and communicating with producers to assess agricultural losses or damages resulting from Hurricane Sally.

A preliminary assessment of the losses and damages associated with Hurricane Sally is available here.

However, the full measure of impacts will not be known for weeks or potentially months due to the uniqueness of this particular event.

Hurricane Michael (2018)

Hurricane Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach, FL on October 10, 2018 as a category four hurricane with peak winds of 155 miles per hour, making it the strongest hurricane on record to make landfall in the Florida panhandle. Hurricane Michael significantly impacted Florida agriculture, causing widespread crop and timber losses across Northwest Florida. 

Path of Hurricane Michael 2018

Windswath associated with Hurricane Michael (October 2018)
Data source: U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Hurricane Center

A preliminary assessment of the agricultural losses associated with Hurricane Michael is available HERE.

An updated assessment of the agricultural losses associated with Hurricane Michael including county-level breakdowns is available HERE.

Agricultural Disaster Survey

The Economic Impact Analysis Program has developed an online survey instrument to assist UF-IFAS Extension in collecting disaster impact information using the Qualtrics® survey system. The online survey instrument is designed to allow for more timely and accurate reporting on observed damages.


Uprooted trees in the path of Hurricane
Irma (September 2017) Source: UF-IFAS

 

The Economic Impact Analysis Program has developed an online survey instrument to assist UF/IFAS Extension in collecting information on agricultural losses and damages associated with various weather and climate related disasters using the Qualtrics® survey system. The online survey instrument is designed to allow for more timely and accurate reporting on observed damages. Additional information on this tool is available through the UF/IFAS Extension EDIS system.

 

Hurricane Irma (2017)

Hurricane Irma made landfall in the Florida Keys on September 10, 2017 as a category four hurricane, then continued on a northerly path along the west side of the Florida peninsula, bringing hurricane and tropical storm force winds, heavy rains, and flooding to nearly every community in the state. Hurricane Irma’s path was particularly devastating for Florida agriculture, causing widespread property damages and unprecedented crop and livestock losses throughout the state. In the weeks and months afterward, the Economic Impact Analysis Program released reports on the agricultural losses at both the state and county levels.

Path of Hurricane Irma 2016

Windswath associated with Hurricane Irma (September 2018)
Data source: U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Hurricane Center

 

Path of Hurricane Michael 2018

Timeline and distribution of power outages associated with Hurricane Irma
(September 2017) Source: US Energy Information Administration


Flooded orange grove after Hurricane Irma
(September 2017) Source: UF-IFAS


A county level assessment of the agricultural losses associated with Hurricane Irma is available HERE.

Reference:

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) U.S. Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters (2018). https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions/

A report describing the online survey instrument is available here