PLAQUEMINES PARISH, La. (WGNO) — Freezing temperatures are on the way and now it’s causing some concern in Plaquemines Parish.
Citrus has provided Ben Becnel’s livelihood since before he was born. His produce farm in the parish started a few generations before him. Now he’s the president of it, saying he’s been in business 60 years.
Every year he sells thousands of crates of citrus which account for about 50% of his business.
Right now, he and his crews are scrambling to pick as much of it as possible.
“Whatever we cannot get off I think by Friday night will be frozen on the tree,” said Becnel. “I don’t think it will be any good.”
With a potential hard freeze on the way Becnel is worried he may lose 1,500 trees worth of citrus.
“What’s on the tree right here right now is our profit, if we can get this off the tree that’s our profit, that’s what we are going to make. But if we can’t we won’t make any profit,” said Becnel.
In a parish known for its citrus, specifically because of the Becnel’s, Parish President Kirk Lepine is hopeful the farm will make a comeback.
“It’s tough because just a year or two ago Ida hit and they still are recovering from that,” said Lepine. “They are just getting back on their feet from Ida and here we go with the freeze again.”
Becnel says he and his crews will continue picking until the weather gets too cold. He doesn’t anticipate being able to snag all the citrus and will have to start over again in the spring.
“It’s not going to be fun, then we will have to come in here whatever fruit does not fall off the tree we are going to have to pick it off,” said Becnel.
The last time this happened, according to Becnel, was about ten years ago.