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Total agricultural losses from Florence estimated at over $1.1 billion

N.C. Department of Agriculture

RALEIGH — Initial estimates of crop damage and livestock losses to North Carolina’s agriculture industry from Hurricane Florence are expected to be more than $1.1 billion, according to the N.C. Department of Agriculture.

That number easily tops the $400 million that followed Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

“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,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “These early estimates show just what a devastating and staggering blow this hurricane leveled at our agriculture industry.”

Estimates by crop include:

• Row crop losses, $986.6 million

• Forestry losses, $69.6 million

• Green industry losses, $30 million

• Vegetable and horticulture crop losses, $26.8 million

• Livestock, poultry and aquaculture losses, $23.1 million

Livestock losses include 4.1 million poultry and an estimated 5,500 hogs.

The estimates are based on the percentage of crops still in the field in the 35 most highly affected counties — Anson, Beaufort, Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Chatham, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Edgecombe, Greene, Harnett, Hoke, Hyde, Johnston, Jones, Lee, Lenoir, Martin, Montgomery, Moore, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Pitt, Richmond, Robeson, Sampson, Scotland, Stanly, Union, Wake, Wayne and Wilson.

The calculations also looked at a five-year average for crop production and the prices of commodities. Assessment information from the department’s regional agronomists, N.C. State University agents and specialists, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency and National Agricultural Statistics Service, and commodity associations were used to develop estimates.

The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services continues to staff the Ag Emergency Hotline, 866-645-9403, to coordinate disaster response. Hotline staff members can help direct callers to agricultural disaster assistance programs.

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