Massive flooding caused by days of extremely heavy rains produced by Hurricane "Florence" killed about 3.4 million chickens and turkeys and 5 500 hogs in North Carolina alone. While it's known the flooding has affected the top 6 agricultural counties in the state, estimates on crop losses are still not available.
The preliminary numbers were provided by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture on September 18, after dispatching inspectors and field forces to begin assessing damage to the state's agriculture industry and to ensure food is safe for consumers.
While inspectors wait for flood waters to recede to safe levels before making site visits, they are contacting firms to determine which areas will be prioritized.
"This was an unprecedented storm with flooding expected to exceed that from any other storms in recent memory," said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler, who conducted an aerial survey of damage on September 18.
"We know agricultural losses will be significant because the flooding has affected the top six agricultural counties in our state," Troxler said.
"The footprint of flooding from this storm covers much of the same area hit by flooding from Hurricane 'Matthew' in 2016, which only worsens the burden on these farmers," he said, adding that preliminary livestock losses are 3.4 million poultry and an estimate of 5 500 hogs.
Estimates on crop losses are still not available, the department said.
In 2016, the industry lost about 2 800 hogs during flooding produced by Matthew in 2016, AP reports. North Carolina is among the top states in the nation in producing pork and poultry, with about 9 million hogs at any given time and 819 million chickens and 34 million turkeys raised each year.
Featured image credit: Live Storms Media