NCFB President Discusses Storm Aftermath, Farmers’ Resilience

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John Hart | Sep 17, 2018 | Southeast FarmPress

Hurricane Florence could not have come at a worse time for North Carolina agriculture.

“We are in the middle of harvest season on some crops, just beginning harvest season on some and haven’t really begun on others,” said North Carolina Farm Bureau President Larry Wooten in a Monday afternoon interview with Southeast Farm Press following the weekend storm.

“Our tobacco crop was a little late this year. Fifty percent of the tobacco was still in the field and the best quality tobacco was still in the field. It is yet to be determined whether that tobacco that is left in the field will be salvageable or not. It depends on the temperature and the wind damage. In some areas we know it won’t be salvageable,” he said.

As for cotton, Wooten says preliminary reports show damage ranging from very little to a total loss. He is concerned about the damage by wind and rain to the cotton that has already opened up.

“We haven’t begun peanut harvest yet. Our peanuts are still in the ground. If the water gets off of them, with blue skies and the wind blows with these sandy loamy soils, these peanuts will probably be OK, but I’m not sure.”

Wooten is also concerned about North Carolina sweet potatoes because 75 percent of the crop is still in the field. Quality and yield could be down this year, depending on soil type or if the sweet potatoes remain underwater for an extended period of time. “They could sour and rot, and that certainly would not be a very marketable quality potato. If sweet potatoes are on a hill, and a lot of them are, then they can dry out and they can be dug, and we could be OK,” Wooten said.