Initial estimates for crop damage and livestock losses to North Carolina’s agriculture industry are expected to be more than $1.1 billion, based on assessments following Hurricane Florence. That number easily tops the $400 million seen following Hurricane Matthew in 2016, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) said Thursday.
“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,” North Carolina agriculture commissioner Steve Troxler said. “These early estimates show just what a devastating and staggering blow this hurricane leveled at our agriculture industry.”
The following are losses by crop or commodity:
- Row crop losses are estimated at $986.6 million;
- Livestock, poultry and aquaculture losses are estimated at $23.1 million -- with losses of 4.1 million poultry and an estimate of 5,500 hogs;
- Forestry losses are estimated at $69.6 million;
- Green industry losses are estimated at $30 million, and
- Vegetable and horticulture crop losses are estimated at $26.8 million.
The estimates were based on the percentage of crops still in the field in the 35 most highly affected counties, NCDA&CS said. The calculations also looked at a five-year average for crop production and the prices of commodities. The estimates were developed using assessment information from the department’s regional agronomists, North Carolina State University agents and specialists, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency and National Agricultural Statistics Service and commodity associations.