RALEIGH – Starting Wednesday, Nov. 7, farmers affected by Hurricane Florence will be able to sign up for the Hurricane Florence Agricultural Disaster Program of 2018. The program will directly assist farmers who suffered losses to commodities planted but not harvested before Sept. 13 and livestock. The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will administer the program, and assistance will be dependent upon funding from the General Assembly.
“Hurricane Florence was a catastrophe that hit agriculture at a time when historically high debt, previous disasters and chronic low commodity prices have already created a dim outlook for farmers,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Because of this storm, many areas of North Carolina’s Ag economy have run out of gas and we need to get the engine started again in rural NC. I am concerned that some of our farmers will choose not to return to the fields next year and we are going to do all that we can to encourage them to do so. If funded by the N.C. General Assembly, this program will provide much needed cash flow to maintain agriculture and its multiplier effect for rural economies.”
Initial estimates for crop damage and livestock losses to North Carolina’s agriculture industry are estimated at $1.1 billion and expected to grow. More than half the state’s 100 counties have received a Presidential-disaster declaration.
The N.C. General Assembly directed the NCDA&CS to establish a Hurricane Florence Disaster Recovery plan in Session Law 2018-136. The sign-up period will begin on Wednesday, Nov. 7, and will end on Dec. 10. For more information, visit www.ncagr.gov/agriculturaldisasterprogram or call 1-866-645-9403.