Hyde County Farmers Counting Their Losses After Dennis
Posted September 2, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT
SWAN QUARTER — Dennis has caused a mess along the Outer Banks. But what about damage to North Carolina's farmland? In Hyde County, where soybeans are the top crop, fields are flooded, and the damage in dollars is estimated in the millions.
Farmer Jamine Simmons owns 6,000 acres of Hyde County soybean fields. Right now they are all flooded, courtesy of Dennis.
"I think we have over 40,000 acres [countywide] impacted to the point that there will probably be 60 and 70 percent crop loss. In revenue to this county it means a lot," says Simmons.
In revenue, it means $7.2 million lost across the county. That is enough to put some Hyde County farmers out of business.
The North Carolina Forest Service, along with the farmers, are trying to do something about all the water dumped by Dennis. They are using huge pumps in hopes of drying out the fields.
"These two pumping operations are draining approximately 15,000 acres which is the Fairfield drainage district. We're trying to move that water north into the Alligator River and the Intercoastal waterway, and off the land," says Robert Ross with the Forest Service.
The farmers in Hyde County are much like the crews trying to clear the sand and water off Highway 12 on the Outer Banks. As hard as they try to move all the water out, it appears that more could be pouring in.
"We've got to have some better weather and some better prices," says farmer Alan Ballance. "But that's something we can't help."