Local News

Crop Damage Estimated

Posted September 23, 2003 9:33 a.m. EDT

— Damage estimates from Hurricane Isabel are starting to come in from North Carolina farmers. With just seven counties reporting, there is already more than $75 million in damages to crops and farms.

Thank to Isabel's high winds and rain, Halifax County has taken its second hit from Mother Nature in a year.

"It's a sickening feeling. It's just -- there's no other way to put it. It will just almost make you sick to your stomach to see this much loss," Halifax County farmer Jerry Hamill said.

Hamill's crops are in the same shape as hundreds of other eastern North Carolina farmers -- they are devastated.

Hamill lost the most valuable part of his tobacco crop.

"The wind just came in and, you know, the tobacco could not stand 65 mph winds, probably gusts to 70 or 75 mph that came through here," he said.

Hamill's cotton field did not fare much better. Last week, the bolls were opening and it was shaping up to be a great crop.

"All of Halifax County is like this. Most of eastern North Carolina, east of us, is probably worse than this," he said.

"We're going lose some cotton one way or the other," Hamill said of trying to save what is left.

The damage comes a year after a drought and recent flooding damaged Hamill's crops.

It will take weeks to get a final figure on the total amount of damage to North Carolina's crops. Farmers said some plants could recover, while others may sustain more damage if the weather does not cooperate.