While it is still too early to put a dollar value on the damage to crops in North Carolina from Hurricane Matthew, Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler says the destruction to agriculture is unprecedented.
The commissioner surveyed the crops in eastern North Carolina twice by helicopter and notes that the destruction is worse than the damage brought on by Hurricane Floyd in September 1999.
He said cotton, peanuts, sweet potatoes and soybeans are hardest hit. Hogs and poultry were also hard hit, but Troxler said it is amazing that mortality rates weren’t higher. “The hard numbers are we have less than 2 million chickens that have died; we have about 250 million chickens in North Carolina. We lost 1,300 hogs and we raise more than 9 million hogs per year in North Carolina,” Troxler said.
Farmers needing assistance can call the Ag Emergency Hotline at 1-866-645-9403. The department is operating the hotline 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Editor's Note: Southeast Farm Press sends a special thank you to Hyde County Extension Agent Andrea Gibbs who provided these photos. In addition, Gibbs credits helicopter pilot Sid Cayton of Aurora, N.C. for piloting the helicopter for the aerial photos. "He has been instrumental in helping us document this damage from the air," Gibbs says.