Floodwaters Have Caused Worst Damage to North Carolina’s Hog Farms in Nearly Two Decades

Wall Street Journal writers Kris Maher and Ben Kesling reported yesterday that, “Floodwaters have caused the worst damage to North Carolina’s hog farms in nearly two decades, with more than 5,000 animals dying and several dozen waste lagoons releasing pollutants into waterways.

Hog industry officials said Wednesday they didn’t expect much more damage to farms, despite some rivers continuing to rise in the state. But environmental groups are calling for the industry to relocate lagoons in floodplains to lessen the risks during major storms going forward.

“Flooding was expected in North Carolina through Saturday, and many roads remain under water, the National Weather Service said.”

The Journal article noted, “‘This is the most significant storm that we have faced probably ever,’ said Andy Curliss, chief executive of the North Carolina Pork Council.

“Mr. Curliss said farmers moved 20,000 hogs to higher ground, which prevented a higher death toll. ‘From our point of view, there’s a lot of heroics,’ he said, adding that media reports of damage to several of the state’s 3,300 active hog-waste lagoons was exaggerated.

“Hurricane Florence killed 5,500 of the state’s 8.9 million pigs and hogs, the state said. That is more than the 2,800 hogs that died during Hurricane Matthew in 2016, but far less than the 21,000 hogs that died during Hurricane Floyd in 1999, according to pork council numbers.”

The Journal writers added, “An estimated 3.4 million chickens and turkeys were killed by Florence, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services reported Wednesday.”

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