Ag chief needs entire $250M requested for farmers’ aid

Farmers say Hurricane Florence destroyed tobacco crops in NC. (Photo: Graham Boyd/Tobacco Growers Association of North Carolina)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler says his agency needs the full $250 million he requested for cash payments to farmers with destroyed crops and dead livestock from Hurricane Florence and another storm.

The General Assembly directed Troxler last month to create an “Agricultural Disaster Program” for losses incurred in counties where federal disaster declarations are in place. But lawmakers haven’t yet appropriated money for the aid. They reconvene Nov. 27, and Troxler says he’d like checks cut for farmers early next year so they can be ready for growing seasons.

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The department has received over 400 applications and expects to reach at least 6,000.

Preliminary crop and livestock damages from Florence are at least $1.1 billion. Troxler says the program also should cover damages from remnants of Hurricane Michael.