Carolina farms could take billions in losses from Florence

Tobacco, plants, battered and bruised by Hurricane Florence in a unexplored fields in the vicinity of Fremont, N. C., on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018. Farmer Craig West said the leaves are about as appealing and marketable as a bunch of bruised bananas, but they can’t be harvested anyway because the fields were too weak after the storm. (AP Photo/Emery P. Dalesio)

RALEIGH, N. C. – Hurricane Florence is testing the resolve of the farmers in the Carolina’s, which could face billions of dollars in agricultural damage, while still feeling the sting of Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

Beginning of the farm reports confirm pre-storm worry about losing tobacco, cotton and maize crops. North Carolina industry leaders remain concerned about whether sweet potatoes and peanuts will suffer greatly.

North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said Thursday that he expected that the total farm monetary losses in the billions in the state. South Carolina-damage to crops is currently estimated at $125 million.

Tobacco could take the largest hit among North Carolina crops. About 40 percent of it is still in the field when Florence arrived, and an industry group projected leaf losses may be $350 million.

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