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Record rain damages crops, concerns NC farmers

Posted October 4, 2015
Updated October 6, 2015

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— As rain continued to fall across North Carolina Sunday night, farmers are left with rotting and deteriorating crops.

Greg Hipp, a farmer in Fuquay-Varina, said he is holding out a bit of hope that his tobacco will survive the flooding.

"If we can make it to Tuesday and (the tobacco) is still on the stalk, than it will probably be OK," he said. "But you know, with these winds, it is not helping."

In addition to tobacco, Hipp also grows sweet potatoes.

"There is just too much water. (The crops) are beginning to rot and deteriorate," Hipp said.

According to Hipp, the crops should have already been picked and packaged.

"We tried to harvest some tobacco this morning. We knew better, but we tried anyway and we got stuck," he said.

Also in the Fuquay-Varina area, farmer Kent Revels said he is worried about his peanuts.

"Peanuts are a dry weather crop and there should be twice ad many peanuts as there are right now," he said.

Revels said he took a double hit - a dry summer followed by a week of too much rain.

"Because we have been so dry, some of these have actually dried away from the shell," he said. "Then when they got wet in the ground, they will either damage or sprout, which is a bad thing either way."

Once the state begins to dry out Tuesday, it could be several more days before farmers can fully assess the damage from the continued rainfall.

"We're looking at machines sitting for several days after the rain leaves," North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said Saturday. "It will be several days before they can begin to harvest, so we'll know the full damage once we get back into the fields."

Troxler said farmers needing help clearing their fields or corralling livestock can call 866-645-9403. Gov. Pat McCrory said detailed assessment of the damage caused by the severe weather will begin in earnest on Monday.

“Our agriculture community is likely to be the hardest hit by these heavy rains and flooding,” McCrory said. “We are continuing to work closely with state agriculture officials and vow to do everything we can to address the needs of the farming community.”

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