Hurricanes

State agriculture board discusses hurricane relief for farmers

Posted September 7, 2011

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— The state Board of Agriculture met Wednesday to figure out how it can help farmers affected by Hurricane Irene.

Crop losses accounted for $320 million of the more than $400 million in estimated damage from Irene in North Carolina. Agriculture Secretary Steve Troxler said about three-quarters of the state's tobacco, corn and soybeans and almost all its cotton are grown east of Interstate 95, where the storm flooded fields and flattened crops.

"It was late crops because of the drought and the heat that we've suffered this summer," Troxler said. "We had gotten to the point where the crops were beginning to look pretty good, and then, of course, this happens. So, a lot of farmers almost feel like they got robbed on the way to the bank."   Troxler: Irene's damage 'severe' Troxler: Irene's damage 'severe'

According to early federal estimates, tobacco was hit hardest, both in the fields and in barns. Wilson farmer Pender Sharpe said his family farm alone lost 300 barns of tobacco.

Federal insurance can help the farmers, but it doesn't cover the full value of their crops. Other federal help can take more than a year to arrive, Troxler said.

He called on state lawmakers to consider putting up $20 million to guarantee private loans that would help farmers bridge that gap. He also wants to suspend transportation and environmental rules before and after hurricanes to help farmers trying to salvage their crops.

The recommendations will be presented to the General Assembly next week.

The state also has launched a 24-hour hotline for farmers seeking recovery aid at 866-506-6222.

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  • JustOneGodLessThanU Sep 12, 2011

    cheezchicken said, "Every farmer deserves all of our respect and gratitude."

    I vehemently disagree.

    Tobacco farmers grow a crop that addicts & kills more humans than anything else on planet earth. Do you understand that?

    These farmers are making poison.

    And...this poison also kills 40,000 non-smoking men, women & children in the U.S. alone. Every year.

    So, NO...I have zero respect and zero gratitude for these manufacturers of poison.

  • cheezchicken Sep 7, 2011

    Crop insurance? I have homeowners insurance if my house is destroyed, short and long term disability insurance if I get hurt and can not work, and life insurance if I die to ensure my family is cared for. Seems if farmers want to take the risks growing crops here in NC, they should cover those risks with insurance. No private business, individual, or even a farm should be "bailed out" with taxpayer dollars.

    They do. In fact, often times if a loan is taken from Farm Credit (or any bank) the loan institution will require that the farmer or Agribusiness have crop insurance. If any business should get a "bail out", it should be a farm. There are tobacco farms, berry farms, fish farms, tree farms and wind farms- just to name a few. Every farmer deserves all of our respect and gratitude.

  • mep Sep 7, 2011

    Crop insurance? I have homeowners insurance if my house is destroyed, short and long term disability insurance if I get hurt and can not work, and life insurance if I die to ensure my family is cared for. Seems if farmers want to take the risks growing crops here in NC, they should cover those risks with insurance. No private business, individual, or even a farm should be "bailed out" with taxpayer dollars.

  • Shine -On Sep 7, 2011

    mabe should have been perspiration...... typing too fast.

  • Shine -On Sep 7, 2011

    How many people have posted opposition to this that have ever "sweated a Friday payroll"? I was in Agribusiness for almost 30 years and sweated mine out during times of devastation like we have right now because of the drought and the Hurricane....... Get your check on Friday that someone else sweated and go to the grocery store or a restraurant, and try and figure who sweated to get it there....... Alot of people involved........ As for tobacco - it is a behavioral choice, just like alcohol or pharmmaceutical misuse....... Haven't heard a post on the behavioral choice of alcohol..... What is that? Drink a Scotch, or Martini, type and let's ban tobacco?? Funny how that works. Go into business for yourself like a farmer does and see what happens when you start making decisions 6 months in advance that Mother Nature can take control over in a day.... The prespiration will rise more than going to the gym.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Sep 7, 2011

    Let the farmers grow marijuana...they'd never need money again.

    NC would be a nationwide leader in growing this cash crop. There’s a huge “sellable market” and we could end our deficit in a year or two...and could probably do away with the state income tax too. Unlike tobacco, pot won’t addict you and then kill you.

    Can anyone give me a reason that we shouldn’t legalize pot and start growing the stuff?

  • FromClayton Sep 7, 2011

    "You clearly have no real clue about how a farm works. But plase don't choke. I'm guessing your from Clayton or Cary?"
    RM24

    HEY HEY! I'm taking offense to that one. I AM from Clayton. 5th generation from JoCo, thank you very much. How in the world did we just get lumped in with Cary? and on a farming issue no less! Come on down and visit. Percy Flower's kid might be growing houses (beats moonshine, I suppose), but thats Archer Lodge now. Clayton is a growing community with a small town feel, a thriving farming community and 3 year old little farmers market ran by the farmers themselves. I'm proud of where it has been and where it is going.

  • southernbythegraceofGOD Sep 7, 2011

    AMEN ncdixie1

  • ncdixie1 Sep 7, 2011

    I've been in agribusiness for over 20 years. While you all read this article and complain, look at your lunch plate. The farmers who produce tobacco, many grow more crops than the one. Forget tobacco for a minute and take three crops. The corn that was lost will affect feed prices that will affect your grocery price. The Corn feeds, turkey, chicken, hog and cattle operations. A huge number of poultry and hog operations ARE DOWN EAST. Cotton crop, there is huge loss, some farms are under water some blown to timbucktoo, well that's your clothing (among a ton of other things) jeans, socks, underwear. Then theres the soybean crop, can you say oil seed? So, this disaster touches everyone. These are losses, money, time and labor is lost. Just as if you go blow 40K in Vegas. Gone. There is not enough crop insurance or disaster payment that could ever recoupe what has been lost in crops this year in this state.

  • southernbythegraceofGOD Sep 7, 2011

    if the farmer in the picture was standing in a cotton field or a corn field or in another crop nobody would have anything to say but, OH NO! how dare they , a tobacco field! get over it , it's a honest way of life, nobody FORCES anybody use it, if you are a tobacco user that's your personal choice, i believe you shouldn't drive out ones who make a living growing it because you don't like someones choices.

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