Market News & Headlines >> N. Carolina Hog Industry Escapes Widespread Damage

Indications are that while historic flooding Hurricane Florence had a widespread impact across eastern North Carolina, the overall impact on the many hog farms in the region was limited by strong preparations in advance of the storm’s arrival. 

“Our farmers took extraordinary measures in advance of this storm, including moving thousands of animals out of harm’s way as the hurricane approached,” the North Carolina Pork Council (NCPC) said in a Tuesday evening news release. 

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services reported approximately 5,500 swine deaths, which were the result of all aspects of the storm including wind damage and flooding, the NCPC noted. The group added that it did not expect losses to increase “significantly”, even though floodwaters were continuing to rise in some locations, but cautioned that “circumstances may change”. 

North Carolina is home to roughly 8.9 million hogs on 2,100 farms with more than 3,300 anaerobic treatment lagoons. There were fears flooding of those lagoons would result in major environmental damage. 

In a previous news release on Tuesday, the NCPC noted several impacts from Florence, including a waste lagoon breach on a small farm in Duplin County, the state’s top hog producing region. However, an on-site inspection showed that solids remained in the lagoon. 

Three other lagoons suffered other structural damage, the NCPC said, while nine lagoons were inundated with flood waters and 13 were at capacity due to rainfall and appeared to have overtopped. Other lagoons were at capacity and “efforts were being taken to respond within state regulations and guidance”, the NPPC said. The group did say it expected additional impacts to be reported as conditions and access allowed.