Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hurricane Irene Destroys Crops Along NC Coast

Hurricane Irene has devastated some of North Carolina's most profitable crops this season, including many tobacco, corn, and cotton yields.
Many farmers across the state had delayed their tobacco harvests this year due to a severe drought earlier in the season.
State Department of Agriculture Spokesperson Brian Long says the drought forced farmers to push their harvests back into the peak of hurricane season.
"Some tobacco farms had total loss of their crop; the stalks were flattened, corn stalks were blown down, tobacco plants were blown down, cotton was affected. Those are all major crops in North Carolina."

Long says that because those crops were still in the fields last weekend, some farms lost their entire tobacco yield in a matter of hours.
"I fear that for some farmers, Irene may have been the final straw. When you have something like a hurricane come along and knock out, basically, your whole year's work, you're deprived of a payday."
Long says that with the high input costs of planting crops, some farmers simply may not have the cash on hand to invest in next season.
Martin County in northeastern North Carolina is already reporting a crop damage estimate of $37 million and state officials say the tallies will keep growing over the next several days.

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