Southwest Georgia 'tore up'

Agriculture Committee Chair McCall tours devastated corner of state

Georgia House Rep. Tom McCall told the Rotary Club of Elberton Tuesday that the southwestern corner of Georgia was devastated by Hurricane Michael.

McCall is the Agriculture Committee Chairman for the Georgia House of Representatives.

McCall, who toured the damaged areas in southwest Georgia the day after the hurricane passed through, said Governor Nathan Deal’s special called legislative session will be to deal with how the state will assist the area.

“There were 97 chicken houses destroyed, and that doesn’t include the houses that are leaning and heavily damaged,” said McCall. “In all the farmers down there lost about 2 million chickens.”

The agriculture economy was heavily damaged by the storm, said McCall.

He said cotton losses amounted to between $550 an $600 million.

“There were areas down there where the cotton on the ground was as thick as carpet,” McCall said.

The vegetable crop losses were in the range of $450 million, said McCall, and he said estimates are coming in at $1 billion range for losses of timber.

“At 70 miles per hour, the wind will uproot trees, and at 80 miles per hour the trees will snap,” said McCall. “There were areas down there where all the trees snapped.”

As of Tuesday, McCall said estimates on the pecan crop were unknown, but a lot of pecan farmers said they had total losses.

Homes were, for the most part, still standing but McCall said all of the area’s outbuildings “are gone.”

He described an area where no one had electricity.

“We were traveling in an area where there was a lot of traffic, and I thought it was a wreck because the police were directing traffic,” said McCall. “But what happened was there was a filling station that had electricity, and everybody was there trying to get gas. There was plenty of gas around but you had to have electricity to pump it.”

The infrastructure throughout the region was “tore up.”

McCall said he believes Governor Deal is going to ask for $100 million to help the region, but McCall said the legislature is also going to have to try to determine how those funds will be used.

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