North Carolina Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler has traveled eastern sections of his state viewing damage done to North Carolina crops by Hurricane Irene. Based on his past experience, Troxler says it's about what he expected.
"The tobacco crop looks to be probably the worst hit because the damage is so wide-spread and there is wind damaged and water damaged with a lot of tobacco blown down on the ground and blown off," Troxler said. "But all the crops that we grow were affected and I guess the sad thing is about 75% of the agricultural production in North Carolina is in this area so there is wide-spread damage."
Troxler says the biggest problem for North Carolina producers is the interruption of electrical service to the area.
"In some cases flood waters have overwhelmed the emergency power generators and that is very problematic," Troxler said. "If I were to say how bad is the infrastructure damage in agriculture, it's not too bad. There are isolated incidents of grains storage facilities that were damaged or collapsed, certainly some infrastructure damage, but the infrastructure damage is not the problem, crop damage is."
The North Carolina Ag Commissioner says that many producers are at harvest time with a lot of these crops and the wind damage is going to exceed the benefit of the water.
"There are crops completely under water that will drown, there is no question about it," Troxler said. "So you know it's going to be a major weather event as far as agriculture is concerned in eastern North Carolina and you know we've got to figure out a way to move on, have a good attitude next spring and hope next year's better."