- Associated Press - Saturday, October 15, 2016

ATLANTA (AP) - Georgia’s top agriculture official says Hurricane Matthew hit the state’s pecan and cotton farmers hard.

Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black says he toured farms in three counties this week following the storm that raked Georgia’s coast last weekend. Black says many pecan farmers lost up to one-third of their trees, including trees older than 100 years. Black says it takes at least seven years for a new tree to start producing pecans.

High winds also damaged the cotton crop by driving fiber into the ground or tangling it. Rain also harms the quality of cotton, lowering its sale price.

Officials say the hurricane also damaged some seed beds for Vidalia onions.

Black says the damage is difficult to quantify.

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