Hermine causes millions in damage to South Georgia pecan farm

By: Noelani Mathews
September 5, 2016

RAY CITY, Ga. (WCTV) -- Four days after tropical storm Hermine, Ashley Paulk says nearly 30% of his crop is gone.

He says more than a thousand pecan trees were torn down by the storm last week.

"Some of the orchards, you could just look down the row and you couldn't see down the row," says Paulk, co-owner of Shiloh Pecan Farms.

Paulk says it wiped out nearly 30 to 40 acres of his farm.

Three weeks out from harvest and mid-hurricane season, Paulk says, all you can do is pray.

"Forty to 55 mile per hour wind is devastating," says Paulk. "We've lost roughly a thousand trees, at least a million pounds of nuts, and that translates to over $4 million in losses."

Many of them were even ripped off the branch, which he says, 45 to 60 pecans costs them a pound.

"In a good year they'll produce 130 million pounds, so we would have 4 to 5 million of that 130 million."

Paulk says that amount comes out to around $14 million.

"There's a very good demand for pecans and this storm will probably affect the price."

Despite the significant loss, he says he's still thankful.

"It could've been worse. No one on the farm got hurt. We didn't have any houses damaged, so we're blessed in some ways."

Paulk says 60 people are working on the cleanup, which he expects to take 6 to 7 days.