Florida fruit growers and farmers have just barely begun to assess the damage Hurricane Irma wrought on the state’s citrus, sugar cane and vegetable crops – but they expect it will be significant.

With power and communications still out across much of Florida, officials said Tuesday that getting a full picture will take weeks. What remains unknown: Exactly how much damage the crops suffered, how much producers might recover from crop insurance, and how much more people might pay for their morning orange juice.

“Irma went right up the middle. It didn’t matter where you were, because Irma was so wide,” said Mark Hudson, the Florida state statistician with the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Extension and Farm Service Agency agents have just started evaluating the losses, he said, “if they can get fuel and if they can get out.”

Florida’s orange harvest usually begins around Thanksgiving, and about 90 percent of it becomes juice. Projections for the 2016-17 growing season had called for 68.5 million boxes of oranges and 7.8 million boxes of grapefruit. The orange crop was worth over $886 million, according to USDA figures, while the grapefruit crop was worth nearly $110 million.

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