Citrus Growers See Worst Damage Ever From Hurricane Isaac

Sep 14, 2012

The LSU Ag Center reports that Hurricane Isaac caused the worst damage in memory to citrus crops in Plaquemines Parish.

Surge from the Gulf of Mexico between seven and 10 feet inundated citrus trees, ruining acres of oranges, lemons and grapefruit. There's also no telling what is in the mucky soil left behind by receding flood waters.

Citrus farmer Ben Becnel thinks he will only be able to sell about 10-percent of his crop this year.

"Because even the fruit left on the tree is left scratched, scared and damaged," said Becnel. "We still don't know what's going to hold and what's going to fall."

Next year's crop will probably also be reduced because of Isaac.

LSU Ag Center County Agent Alan Vaughn said the trees may not have enough energy to put on fruit and leaves for next year's blossoms.

What was once 1,000 acres of citrus in Plaquemine's parish was cut down by half after Hurricane Katrina. Isaac may have dwindled that number even further.