PINETOPS, N.C. (AP/WAVY) - Farmers in Edgecombe County say most of the local tobacco crop is damaged by Hurricane Irene, and they want Gov. Beverly Perdue's help landing money to recover the losses.
Perdue visited a tobacco farm Thursday to have a look. She also signed an executive order to make it easier for state crews to remove storm debris from farms and for farmers to burn storm-related trash.
In Bertie County, estimated losses are close to $24 million.
Field after field of the normally lime green plant is yellow, bruised and beaten down. Irene's strong winds and heavy rain are to blame.
"There's no saving this crop. This crop is gone. There's nothing you can do about it. I was angry in the beginning. doesn't do any good to be angry you can't change it," said tobacco farmer Wood Farless.
Burt Pitt said he was able to harvest about 20 acres of his tobacco near Pinetops by continuing to work in the rain as Irene rolled in last weekend. Another 100 acres of tobacco leaves were shredded and turned yellow and brown.
Another crop damaged was cotton.
"You not only had damage where some of the cotton was blow out of the bolls you had seed sprouting where cotton was laying on the ground. That's going to reduce the price and the quality of the cotton," said Extension Director Richard Rhodes.
Tarboro tobacco grower Richard Anderson asked Perdue to get help from the federal and state governments.
Rhodes estimates the loss for cotton at just under 6 million dollars.
Peanuts are a hearty crop and fared pretty well during the storm, so did soybeans.
Many farmers have insurance on their crops- and hope that will help offset some of their losses.
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