HYDE COUNTY – Farmers and other citizens in Hyde, Brunswick and Bladen counties had a chance Tuesday to show Gov. Pat McCrory and Agriculture Secretary Steve Troxler their crop damage from heavy rains over the past week. The two are speaking to packed houses as they tour the state, getting a first-hand look at the aftermath of Hurricane Joaquin and recent heavy rain. More than 7 inches of precipitation fell on North Carolina since September 29, causing dangerous flash floods and washing away millions in crops.
With cleanup beginning and the sun expected to be out for a few days, farmers will get a chance to asses the damage. The N.C. Department of Agriculture set up an emergency hotline for farmers to find help in dealing with flood and wind damage. Officials are asking growers to call 1-866-645-9403.
“With all the rain anticipated across the state this weekend, the probability of agricultural damage is very real,” said Troxler. “We are ready to help connect farmers with local resources right away.”
So far it appears that the flooding delayed the harvest of cotton, sweet potatoes, soybeans peanuts and tobacco, among others. The result is fewer high-quality crops, which may affect farmers’ livelihood and consumer prices. The Department of Agriculture has already put North Carolina’s peanut crop losses at over $10 million.
“Our agriculture community is likely to be the hardest hit by these heavy rains and flooding,” McCrory said. “We are continuing to work closely with state agriculture officials and vow to do everything we can to address the needs of the farming community.”
McCrory said the state is not out of the woods yet. Tuesday is the first day of sunshine in more than a week and flood waters are still sitting atop supersaturated soil. The state’s first responders are maintaining readiness for possible swift-water rescues and other flooding dangers. Fort Bragg is serving as a staging area for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, working in parts of North Carolina and South Carolina.
Tuesday morning Troxler and McCrory got an aerial view of the flood waters along the eastern part of the state and reported that it appears life is somewhat getting back to normal. Later Tuesday, Troxler and McCrory will visit with farmers at Lu Mill Vineyards in Elizabethtown, N.C. before returning to Raleigh.