Florence caused $1.1B in NC agriculture losses

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— Initial estimates for crop damage and livestock losses in North Carolina from Hurricane Florence are expected to be over $1.1 billion, state officials said Wednesday.

“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,” Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said in a statement. “These early estimates show just what a devastating and staggering blow this hurricane leveled at our agriculture industry.”

The losses far exceed the $400 million caused by Hurricane Matthew in 2016, officials said.

The estimates were based on the percentage of crops still in the field in the 35 hardest-hit counties. The calculations also looked at a five-year average for crop production and the prices of commodities. Assessment information from state Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services regional agronomists, North Carolina State University agents and specialists, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency, the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service and commodity associations were used to develop estimates.

Following are estimates by crops:

  • Row crop losses – $986.6 million
  • Forestry losses – $69.6 million
  • Green industry losses – $30 million
  • Vegetable and horticulture crop losses – $26.8 million
  • Livestock, poultry and aquaculture losses – $23.1 million

Livestock losses are 4.1 million poultry and an estimate of 5,500 hogs.