Peanuts up, tobacco down for NC farmers this year


    RALEIGH, NC (AP) — With farmers in eastern North Carolina still recovering from Hurricane Irene, cotton and tobacco crops are expected to drop this year, while some of the state’s other major crops will increase.

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a forecast on Friday predicting that North Carolina farmers will plant about 700,000 acres of cotton, a 13 percent drop from 2011. Plantings of flue-cured tobacco will likely be around 150,000 acres, a drop of roughly 10,000 acres. The hurricane devastated many farms east of I-95 last year, particularly tobacco crops.

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    State Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler says that other crops are looking more robust. He says farmers are expected to plant roughly 100,00 acres of peanuts this year, the highest total since 2008. Corn, soybeans and sweet potatoes are also increasing in acreage.

    (Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)