Be Careful Who You Trust: Hurricanes Bring Storm of Misinformation

Hurricanes often spawn storms of misinformation, including warnings about pig farms from activist groups intent on stoking fears, North Carolina Pork Council shared in its blog.

“When you see something negative about our farms during a hurricane, don’t be so quick to assume its true,” NC Pork wrote. “This applies to photos as well.”

It’s no coincidence that the pork industry has made great improvements in how it prepares for hurricanes. Just like nutrition and reproduction and human resource management, pork producers are constantly learning and finding ways to make their operations better. This includes hurricane and storm preparation, too.

“While the rest of the East Coast is sleeping, or just waking up, I am proud to be part of a company that is proactive and working hard to make sure that our animals, people, and environment are prepared as best we can for tropical storm/Hurricane Isaias to make landfall in North Carolina,” Emily Byers, DVM, with Prestage Farms said on social media on Monday. “The ‘P-Trucks’ were out in force today before daylight getting ready by hauling feed, fuel, pigs, and other supplies as we prepare to go into hurricane mode.”

That’s the story that many mainstream news media don’t cover.

Did you know?
In the recent NC Pork Report, it said more than 300 lagoons have been closed since a voluntary program was established in 2000.

The North Carolina Swine Floodplain Buyout Program has led to the permanent closure of 43 farms and 103 lagoons in four phases over the first 10 years of the program, the article said. 

A fifth phase was approved in 2018 with about $5 million in funding. The NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is expected to share more information soon about the conservation easements.

Meanwhile, the NC Foundation for Soil and Water Conservation has closed an additional 231 out-of-service lagoons through a separate grant program, the article said.

The buyout program requires producers to agree to a permanent conservation easement on the portion of land containing floods and lagoons that are vulnerable to flooding, NC Pork explained. Although the property owner has continued rights to the land and can use it for agricultural purposes, it can’t’ for most animal agriculture activities. 

“These decisions are not taken lightly, but demonstrate a commitment to environmental protection,” NC Pork wrote in the report. “Because of strict regulations, there have been no hog farms built in North Carolina in more than two decades. Under state law, the permits cannot be transferred so any farms that close will mean less pork production benefiting the state’s economy.”

Read more from Farm Journal's PORK:

Why Do Hog Farms Fare Well During Hurricanes?

When the Hurricane Hits: Are You Prepared?


Heroes of Hurricane Florence: Pig Farmers Rise to Challenge