Many farmers in eastern North Carolina continue to assess crop damage following weekend storms. Flooded fields are expected to result in depleted peanut, sweet potato and cotton harvests this fall. Governor Pat McCrory expressed concern about the agriculture industry at a Tuesday briefing.
"Certain crops are just sitting in the fields rotting right now and they can't get to the crops to pick 'em. And we're right in the prime season to pick 'em. And we've already heard from several farmers who have lost everything —for the year," McCrory said to a gathering of local officials in Brunswick County.
Officials are working to determine what kind of government assistance can be made available to farmers. North Carolina is the largest producer of sweet potatoes in the United States. McCrory says the state is "very, very fortunate" to have missed a direct hit from Hurricane Joaquin.
"We still have some road closings that we have to deal with. We still have some folks not in their homes," he said.
South Carolina suffered the worst damage. North Carolina deployed National Guard members and four Blackhawk helicopters and to help with relief efforts in Columbia.
McCrory says the focus here now turns to farmers and the state's large agricultural industry.