NC Tobacco Farmers Hurt by Florence

WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) -- As North Carolina's farmers evaluate their crop losses after Hurricane Florence, it looks like damage to tobacco fields and barns could be the most costly.

The Tobacco Growers Association of North Carolina estimates 100 million to 125 million pounds (45 to 57 million kilograms) of tobacco leaf could be damaged by flooding, winds and power outages. Association CEO Graham Boyd said Wednesday that could equate to $250 million to $350 million in farm revenues.

Boyd says about 40 percent of the crop remained in the field when the storm arrived, and often leaves at the top of the stalks considered the most valuable had yet to be harvested.

North Carolina is the nation's top producer of tobacco, which remains one of the most valuable crops for farmers.

Farm groups also are concerned about cotton, sweet potatoes, peanuts and corn. Flooded roads and farmlands have delayed evaluation efforts.

(KA)