The 2004 hurricanes impacted sugarcane and sugar production dropping below what was produced the last five years at Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida. The 145-day harvesting campaign began on November 3, 2004, and was completed on March 28, 2005.

The 54 grower-members produced six less tons of sugarcane per acre, with the yield dipping to 11.53% compared to last year's record of 11.73%. The cooperative harvested 68,273 acres of sugarcane producing 2.885 million tons or sugarcane yielding 339,159 short tons raw value (STRV) of sugar.

Last year, the Cooperative harvested 70,247 acres of its members' land producing 3.412 million tons of sugarcane yielding 408,000 STRV sugar.

"In addition to the lost production and resulting economic impact that the hurricanes had this past year, we expect to see additional losses in production over the next couple of years," said George H. Wedgworth, cooperative president. "Although the crop suffered, we are fortunate that sugarcane is a resilient plant that can withstand Mother Nature's fury from time to time. However, farmers have more concerns about man-induced threats such as government-imposed regional trade agreements, like the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), that will result in exporting high- paying jobs and a vital domestic industry off-shore thus hurting Florida's economy," he said.

Source: Cooperative Release