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Troxler: Saturated fields, continued rain resulting in crop damage

Posted October 3, 2015

— North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said Saturday that crops across the state continued to be damaged thanks to continued rain and saturated ground.

"It's not the amount, at this point, but it's the duration of the event," Troxler said during a news conference with other state leaders. "We have waterlogged fields, and we're beginning to get reports of fresh fruits being damaged, particularly apples, potatoes and pumpkins."

Troxler said Friday that the state's peanut crop alone has suffered about $9 million in damage since rain began falling 10 days ago. North Carolina is among the nation's top 10 peanut producers.

Troxler said some of the apples in Henderson County are starting to split open because they're waterlogged, and that the longer harvests are delayed, the more damage that will occur.

Another issue, Troxler said, is that many farmers can't access their fields to assess crops or any potential damage.

"Sweet potatoes, peanuts and cotton are all being effected by the inability of farmers to get in and harvest those crops," he said. "Another concern in eastern North Carolina is that a lot of the rain coming in off the ocean has a high salt content. That can be very damaging to crops."

More rain is forecast to fall across the western part of the state on Saturday, and the southern and eastern parts of North Carolina could see more rain on Sunday as the weather system lifts to the north.

State officials said they don't anticipate having to release water from reservoirs, but if they do, that could result in even more damage to the agriculture industry.

"I had one farmer call me this morning and tell me he has $1 million of crops in the Yadkin River bottom," Troxler said. "A lot of crops are in river bottoms."

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

"We're looking at machines sitting for several days after the rain leaves," Troxler said. "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.

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  • Susan Olvera Oct 4, 2015
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    This just in : Troxler States The Obvious

    At least large farms have some form of insurance and state/federal subsidy. The farms that supply small local farmers markets do not. It's more important now than ever to support local farmer's markets. If it costs less money, is one day fresh instead of fifteen, you know the person picking the crop was paid an ethical wage, and the environment impact is less because it's not trucked in from the West Coast - why are we still visiting big box stores?

    I'd love to see WRAL to a large piece on local farmer's markets, complete with cost comparison. I've done it and it's generally less expensive to buy local.