Gates Co. crop loss at $3 million

Published 9:56 am Tuesday, October 5, 2010

In a word – wet!

With an average of 16-to-18 inches of rain falling from Sunday through Thursday of last week, Gates County residents witnessed another “Floyd-like” weather event, only this time without major damage to homes and businesses.

However, Gates County farmers did suffer.

Gates County Emergency Management Director Billy Winn has estimated $3 million in agricultural losses. He said the bulk of those losses are linked to the peanut and cotton crops.

“Some of our farmers had already begun to dig peanuts,” Winn said. “They may wind-up being the luckiest ones because now it’s better to have your peanuts on top of the ground and not still in the ground. It’s going to take a while for things to dry out and for farmers to get back in the field to dig peanuts.”

Cotton farmers also took a hard hit.

“It rained so hard that it beat the cotton right out of the boll,” Wynn said. “If it stayed in the boll it got dirty as the hard rain splashed a lot of mud on the cotton.”

Wynn said an assessment team from the North Carolina State Department of Agriculture will arrive soon to assist local farmers in assessing their damage.

Additionally, state and federal officials will be in the county this week to perform overall assessments of damage and offer assistance to individuals and pubic entities.

All roads in the county were passable by Sunday. Wynn said there were a few isolated areas of minor overwash, but all were safe to pass through. There didn’t appear to be any major erosion damage to county roads.

There was reported damage to one home in the county. Meanwhile, three other occupied dwellings  – in the area of the twin bridges on NC 137 – lost county water on Thursday. Wynn said that could have been caused by debris compromising the water line.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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