Weather

Farmer looks ahead after tornado killed cattle, leveled buildings

Posted February 26

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— Sherby Slaughter has been farming on his piece of land in Granville County for 24 years. On Wednesday, a tornado took everything away in a matter of minutes.

The twister, the strongest of six that raked the region, killed four of Slaughter's 250 cattle, leveled every building on his farm and damaged almost every piece of equipment.

"Just the buildings alone, we're probably looking at a quarter-million dollars (lost)," he said Friday.

The National Weather Service in Raleigh confirmed Thursday that an EF-2 tornado with maximum wind speeds of 125 mph touched down at 4:32 p.m. Wednesday and remained on the ground for 5 miles along Huntsboro Road in Granville County.

Two other farms – a dairy farm and a tobacco farm – within a couple miles of Slaughter's spread also were damaged.

"The farmers that were impacted, it was significant to them. The overall farming community here, we got lucky," said Mark Howell, an emergency programs specialist with the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

The agriculture department sent Division of Forestry crews to help the farmers clean up the damage.

"This is just one farm, but the tentacles of farming reach deep into our communities," Howell said.

Slaughter said his neighbors have also pitched in to help get him back on his feet.

"Just so many people have been so good to us," he said. "I'm not going to look back. We can start and come back again. We don't know what the future holds, but it can be built back. Nobody got hurt. Nobody got killed. So, I'm good to go."

The Weather Service also confirmed EF-1 and EF-0 tornadoes in Duplin County and one EF-0 tornado each in Durham, Wayne and Bertie counties.

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