South Carolina farmers are preparing for the potential impacts Hurricane Florence will have on crops and livestock. The hurricane is expected to make landfall in North Carolina by Friday and will have tropical storm effects well across the mainland of South Carolina.
Corn harvest is underway and presents the largest concern statewide. Farmers have had several days notice ahead of the storm and are working around the clock to get their crop in as quickly as possible. As of September 4, approximately 63% of the corn statewide was harvested. South Carolina farmers planted 310,000 acres of corn in 2018, and the crop is valued at more than $187 million annually.
Farmers are also harvesting tobacco, and the majority of it is grown in the Pee Dee region, which is expected to be the hardest-hit area in South Carolina. Annually, tobacco accounts for $48 million in cash receipts and is among the state’s top ten commodities.
In addition to traditional crops, livestock farmers are preparing by storing enough feed and fuel for generators. Fall vegetables could also suffer a negative impact from sustained rainfall.
“We appreciate Governor McMaster’s leadership and foresight in issuing the Executive Order lifting the weight restrictions for transport of agricultural crops and livestock,” said SCFB President Harry Ott. “My family and I have been in our fields trying to harvest as much as we can before the rain begins. Farmers in South Carolina weathered the 1,000-year flood in 2015 and Hurricane Matthew in 2016, so we are certainly praying for the best.”
All farmers are encouraged to lower their farm ponds to help mitigate extra stress on dams. SCFB will share up-to-date news from government agencies, such as USDA-RMA, and the State Department of Agriculture, throughout the next several days and weeks.