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Report: Drought costs 2007 agriculture economy $573 million

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RALEIGH (AP) -- A new report said the state's drought will cost North Carolina's agriculture economy $573 million in 2007. The study released Monday by Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler found that soybean farmers will suffer the biggest loss with about $130 million in damages. A total of $382 million will directly hit farms while the remainder will cut into the state's related economic activity. The numbers did not count losses for the livestock, poultry and dairy industries that have also struggled through he drought. Troxler said those severe losses set up the industry for even more losses next year. The report said most of the drought's impact will be felt in the future through poor yields and quality. (Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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