Effects of Hurricane Irene cost North Carolina tobacco farmers an estimated US$114M in crop losses, according to state officials

NEW YORK , November 10, 2011 () – The effects of Hurricane Irene continue to be felt in North Carolina, with state officials saying the storm cost tobacco farmers here some $114 million in crop losses.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reports that the loss occurred even though the number of acres planted was up slightly in 2011. Last year, tobacco was worth about $589 million to North Carolina farmers.

Winds and sea salt carried by the Category 1 storm wreaked havoc on fields dozens of miles inland from the coast. Rows of tobacco were too damaged to be harvested by machinery, and most tobacco farmers today can't afford the labor to harvest by hand.

The state's cotton yield was also reduced by the storm. But peanuts and soybeans are thriving.

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