2017 had its share of bad weather conditions of different varieties that presented challenges for produce truckers.
Heavy snows early in the year resulted in collapsing buildings in the Northwest holding onions, among other items. During the spring a Southeastern killer freeze wiped out the majority of peaches and blueberries.
On the Gulf Coast and in Florida two hurricanes were devastating.
On the positive side, winter rains eased the California drought significantly.
Citrus hauling was adversely affected with Irma causing at least $760 million in losses to citrus, with many growers losing at least half of their crop. Vegetable and strawberry shipments also were adversely affected by Irma, but not nearly as much.
Banana imports by boat were diverted from Galveston to Florida ports after the storm. The port of Houston remained closed for months. The 50 inches of rain dumped on the Gulf Coast area was the most on record in the U.S. for a single storm.
In Georgia, a March freeze knocked out 70 percent of the peach shipments and an even higher percentage of blueberries.
Wave after wave of late-winter rains flooded fields, caused crop delays and played havoc with planting schedules and ultimately produce shipping schedules in California. However, Salinas Valley produce grower and shippers were so desperate for rain they weren’t complaining.
The rains brought a much-needed cleansing of the soil in the Salinas Valley by helping to leach unwanted salts below the farmed portions of the soil. Still California needs another two or three years like 2017 to end its drought.
In January 2017 in the Treasure Valley region of Western Idaho and Eastern Oregon, two major snow storms in less than two weeks resulted in collapsing of a number of onion storage sheds and other structures. At least eight onion companies lost one or more buildings, while at least five had three or more cave in.