About 35 local farmers and agriculture professionals met in Quincy Thursday (1/13) for the advisory summit at the University of Florida Research Center. While there were other items on the agenda, the cold weather was the hot topic.
District field manger for research Dan Buchanan says, "The biggest problem right now is with the poultry and cattle industries. With the temperatures as low as its been, and a lot of times not getting out of the 40's during the day, the poultry farmers are having to burn a tremendous amount of gas."
Ag agents say keeping live stock warm is costly. They say poultry farmers normally spend $20,000 a year on heating, and that cost could increase by 20 percent because of the cold snaps in the last six months. "So their profits margins are really going to be minuscule for this batch of chickens. Its really rough tough right now with the cold weather," says, Buchanan.
Its also slowing down production by hindering feed. Cattle Farmer Herman Laramore says, "It's stopping the growth of winter forages we depend upon for winter feed for the cattle in this area."
But nursery farmers say some crops are actually benefiting from the freeze. Quincy Nursery farmer George Hackney says, "It makes our plants good and dormant which means they stop growing. This allows us to ship them north, where most of our market is for the growers around here."
Farmers say they won't know what the full economic impact the cold weather will have on the industry until its consistently warm again.