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Scott Satchfield / Eyewitness News
Email: ssatchfield@wwltv.com | Twitter: @satchfield

PLAQUEMINES, La. -- Across more than 40 acres of Ben Becnel's citrus farm along Hwy. 23 in Plaquemines Parish, the devastation is nearly complete.

As Hurricane Isaac ripped through the area, Becnel estimates it wiped out between 90 to 95 percent of what was shaping up to be a bountiful crop.

'We had about 18 inches of water. So, a lot of the fruit floated away. It's gone,' he said. 'Every tree, some of 'em are split open, like this one over here. Some are broken off.'

It all adds up to yet another major blow to Becnel's livelihood.

'According to last year's prices -- we got somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 - $22 a box, and -- I'm figuring we lost 20,000 to 25,000 boxes. So, you can see, it's well over half a million dollars, just for us,' he said.

At this point in the season, Becnel said, there should be no fruit on the ground underneath his trees. Wednesday, his fields were covered with rotting satsumas. Much of what didn't fall, likely will, and none of it can be used.

The effects will linger.

Becnel has to replace 2,000 trees, which won't be fruitful or profitable for another five years.

While he's pushing forward and protecting the crop that can be salvaged, it's hard to shake the images of all that was lost.

'In my mind, I know what they look like, and my stomach will get cold inside,' Becnel said. 'It's I guess, just like a defeated kind of an attitude.'

In all, Becnel said he has 250 acres of crops, which also includes vegetables.

Around three years ago, he got rid of his insurance, because the returns weren't covering enough of his damaged crops in the wake of past storms.

In an attempt to recover from Hurricane Isaac, Becnel plans to ask for state and federal help. Regardless, he said the future is uncertain.

'We had a profitable business, but if this continues like this, we can't keep on.'

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