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Flood Damage on Farms Could Increase Cost of Thanksgiving Dinner

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RALEIGH — Turkey, ham, sweet potatoes and many produce items were hit hard by North Carolina floods just in time for Thanksgiving dinner. The question now is whetherprices at the storeare going to go up.

When news hits that two million chickens, 746,000 turkeys and 28,000 hogs perished in eastern North Carolina floods, consumers might expect to pay a higher price for those items at the market.

However, one poultry expert says not necessarily.

"It is two million chickens in the scheme of things. We produce 680 million in North Carolina," said Ed Woodhouse, executive director of the N.C. Poultry Federation.

Woodhouse says the economic hit on North Carolina producers is great, but the poultry supply from other southern states is still abundant. The same may be true for pork.

"Those other states are still producing as many as they were, and I think we're going to continue to get that great buy for our consumers all across America," said Woodhouse.

It is some of the side dishes on the Thanksgiving table that may cost more.

"Anything on the ground or in the ground really has taken a severe loss," said Charlie Edwards,Farmers Marketmanager.

Abut 35,000 acres of sweet potatoes are gone due to the flood. That is a $43 million loss to growers. Edwards says that loss is bound to mean higher prices soon.

"I think when we see the so-called 'Thanksgiving business' begin to establish itself, it's going to be sharply higher," said Edwards.

When you are buying sweet potatoes, if they were grown in the flooded region, you should ask if they were dug before or after the flood. Many dug out of wet fields may not keep as long on the shelf.

You should also buy sweet potatoes now. Prices are still reasonable, and the supply is good.