“We got probably 2’ more water this time than we did with Floyd”
“We found 23 alive and 30 that we put our eyes on that perished, so there's 70 still not accounted for”
“The birds—that was a complete loss”
These are the comments from farmers after Hurricane Florence hammered the East Coast. They’re sharing stories of weathering the storm and lingering devastation in a video by North Carolina Farm Bureau.
The North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) reports estimates of more than $1.1 billion in agricultural losses. That’s nearly triple the $400 million in agricultural losses following Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
“We knew the losses would be significant because it was harvest time for so many of our major crops and the storm hit our top six agricultural counties especially hard,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “These early estimates show just what a devastating and staggering blow this hurricane leveled at our agriculture industry.”
Losses by segment:
- Row crop losses are estimated at $986.6 million
- Forestry losses are estimated at $69.6 million
- Green industry losses are estimated at $30 million
- Vegetable and horticulture crop losses are estimated at $26.8 million
- Livestock, poultry and aquaculture losses are estimated at $23.1 million, including 4.1 million poultry and 5,500 hogs
One farmer in the video above said it best: “100 mph wind and on top of the 30” [of rain] we had already had 60 plus inches throughout the year. We have just been saturated all year. But the rain from Florence has just been devastating,” he said.
Losses were likely higher due to amount of crops still in the field ahead of harvest. Looking at reports from the 35 most highly impacted counties, officials from the department’s regional agronomists, N.C. State University agents and specialists, the USDA’s Farm Service Agency, the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service and commodity associations developed the estimates.
“We don't need loans—we've already got loans. We need money to start over”
The North Carolina Farm Bureau has established the “Florence Relief Fund,” to help farmers recover from the catastrophic flooding and property damage.
Contributions should be made to the North Carolina Farm Bureau Foundation, Inc. which is a charitable non-profit foundation.
Contributions can be made online or by mail:
North Carolina Farm Bureau Foundation, Inc.
Florence Relief Fund
PO Box 27766
Raleigh, NC 27611-7766
Attn: Perry Crutchfield
“We'll fix it back up and start over and go again. I mean you can't just quit. I mean this is my home”
The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services continues to staff the Ag Emergency Hotline number, 1-866-645-9403, to coordinate disaster response. Hotline staff can also help direct callers to government agricultural disaster assistance programs.