hog barns in North Carolina USDA Photo by Lance Cheung
Hog finishing facilities, where pigs grow from 50 to 275 lbs. at Doug Jernigan Farms, a three-generation family farm in North Carolina.

NCPC says continued reports indicate no widespread damage

Hog farms in North Carolina have to date not experienced substantial widespread impacts from Hurricane Florence.

On Sept. 15, the North Carolina Pork Council (NCPC) reported that farmers, veterinarians and first responders were indicating that hog farms in North Carolina had not experienced substantial widespread impacts from Hurricane Florence, which continued to strike the state.

NCPC said farmers have activated back-up power generation due to significant power outages. On-farm reports indicate sporadic and minor wind damage to structures. Processing facilities were reported to be operational. Processing facility production schedules had not been announced, but it was anticipated that determinations would be based on employee safety.

"Farmers are closely watching forecasts for historic, 1,000-year flooding that is expected to occur across multiple counties over the next several days. Many animals have been moved off farms that could flood, and additional measures will be taken as circumstances evolve," said NCPC.

Rainfall amounts across the region have not exceeded the available capacity of farm lagoons on a whole across the industry. Lagoon levels were low ahead of the storm’s arrival due to a dry late July to early September growing season, which afforded ample opportunity to properly manage levels by applying the treated effluent as a fertilizer on crops in accordance with agronomic rates and state regulations, NCPC said.

NCPC also reiterated a note of caution, saying that in advance of the storm, it had seen widespread instances of inaccurate reporting in the media about the pork industry in the state. Those reports, it said, had relied on activist groups who were exploiting the storm to advance their own agendas. "As with previous storms, some media outlets have fallen victim to this, and have published inaccurate information and photos. We have seen photos of municipal waste plants, poultry houses and other agricultural facilities inaccurately labeled as pig farms. We have seen barns that have been empty for multiple years characterized as active hog farms," said NCPC.

The council urged caution, especially in a breaking news environment where initial information is often inaccurate."It is precisely in these first hours and days that activists with an agenda seek to exploit the media. Our request: Beware of what you hear about hog farms during Hurricane Florence."

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