With Hurricane Florence barreling down on North Carolina, local industries – especially hog farmers – are preparing for the worst. Meanwhile, millions are at risk of losing power as they brace for a historic weather event.
According to David Fountain, Duke Energy’s president for North Carolina, up to 3 million homes and businesses are at risk of losing power as a result of the hurricane, which in a worst case scenario would come onshore at Wilmington, North Carolina and move through Raleigh, Greensboro and Charlotte.
Natural devastation aside, there is the crippling impact the storm will have on local businesses: one of the biggest industries in the storm’s path is hog farming. Hundreds of farms are in the direct path of the hurricane and are scrambling to prepare for its impact by stockpiling feed and moving their livestock, according to this Wall Street Journal article. Preparations to manage millions of gallons of hog waste are also underway.
The worst case scenario for North Carolina, with its 2,100 hog farms and 9 million pigs and hogs, would be to cripple the local hog farming industry. The potential devastation for hog farmers would be a deja vu to what happened after Hurricane Floyd struck in 1999. The result was the destruction of many farms, including flooding, dead livestock and waste leaking into waterways.
Preparations for the worst have been aided by a dry summer which has, in turn, kept waste lagoon levels low. Power is also of the essence, because farmers are at risk of losing livestock if their barns can’t be ventilated.
Still, some are optimistic: the CEO of the North Carolina Pork Council, Andy Curliss, believes that farmers will be prepared this time around: “They’ll deal with what’s thrown at them,” he told the Wall Street Journal.
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