Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Florence floods some N.C. hog manure pools, kills chickens

"North Carolina officials are monitoring swine-waste lagoons that were overrun or threatened by floodwaters after then-Hurricane Florence dumped more than 30 inches of rain on parts of the state — and as rivers there continue to overflow," Ryan McCrimmon reports for Politico's "Morning Agriculture" summary. "Environmental and public health groups have warned that bacteria-filled waste from flooded lagoons could contaminate water supplies, though local pork groups argue the safety risks are overstated.

The state Department of Environmental Quality said Monday that lagoon breaches have been reported from one in Duplin County, and in Jones County two flooded lagoons as well as five "overtops," which is when some waste spills over the side of the lagoon. Reports are still coming in, McCrimmon reports. The North Carolina Pork Council stressed that more than 3,000 active lagoons in the state have been unaffected.

Florence has also hurt the state's poultry industry. "Sanderson Farms said Monday that about 1.7 million chickens had been killed by flooding at contractor farms in the state, and another 30 farms — housing a combined 6.3 million birds — were surrounded by floodwaters and couldn’t be reached by feed trucks," McCrimmon reports.

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