Freeze causes estimated $112 million in damage
Easter weekend’s sub-freezing temperatures caused an estimated $111.7 million in crop losses in North Carolina, based on initial reports from all 100 counties, according to Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler.
“This is a staggering preliminary estimate,” Troxler said. “The Easter weekend freeze affected crops in the mountains, at the coast and everywhere in between. It could be days, even weeks, before we know the true extent of the damage.”
The damage estimate comes from flash reports submitted by U.S. Farm Service Agency offices in counties across North Carolina.
According to the flash reports, nursery crops suffered the highest losses, $57.9 million. Fruits and vegetables, which include apples, peaches and various berries, suffered estimated losses of $26.5 million. Other crops affected by the freeze included corn, wheat, barley and Irish potatoes.
Troxler encouraged farmers to contact their local cooperative extension agent or Farm Service Agency office to report damage. County reports are vital to obtaining thorough damage estimates, he said.
“We are trying to determine the full extent of losses in the state, plus find out which losses were insured and which were not,” Troxler said. “We want to have the most accurate assessment of the situation possible, so that we can move forward in making requests on behalf of the agricultural community.”
All farmers, whether or not they have crop insurance, should document the severity and extent of crop damage with pictures or video, Troxler said.