Hog Farmers Brace for Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence is expected to reach Category 5 status before making landfall Thursday. ( MGN )

About 13% of the nation’s hog production is located in North Carolina—and directly in the path of Hurricane Florence, a storm expected to reach Category 5 status before making landfall Thursday.

Hurricane Florence track

Brad Rippey told AgDay host Clinton Griffiths the storm is tracking to the No. 2 top pork production state in the video clip above. More than 15” to 20” of rain is expected to cause widespread flooding as well as wind damage. Click here for more information on the storm’s path and comparison with previous storms.

Governors of South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia have declared state of emergencies and have suspended transportation rules for farmers in some cases.


Hog farmers are already taking precautions. Andy Curliss, CEO of the North Carolina Pork Council, shares several steps area producers are taking ahead of the storm:

  1. Moving animals to higher ground. If possible, farmers should move animals out of barns that are in flood-prone areas to facilities at other farms.
  2. Stock up on feed. Ensure animals have adequate resources in case of disruptions to transportation and market access.
  3. Ready generators. Prepare for long-term power outages.
  4. Assess lagoon levels.

Farmers across the major production areas of North Carolina are reporting current lagoon storage levels that can accommodate more than 25” of rain, with many reporting capacity volumes far beyond that. For more information, see “Hog Farms and Hurricanes: A Primer on Lagoons and Flooding.”

“Our farmers and others in the pork industry are working together to take precautions that will protect our farms, our animals and our environment,” said Brandon Warren, President of the North Carolina Pork Council and a hog farmer from Sampson County. “The preparations for a hurricane began long before the past few hours or days. Our farmers take hurricane threats extremely seriously. We are continuing this work until the storm will force us inside.”

Learning from the Past

Many farmers might remember Hurricane Matthew in October 2016. Despite activists claims, NC Pork Council says the Divison of Water Resources found minimal damages to water quality from the storm. Read more about the damage to hog farms from Hurricane Matthew and the state’s buyout program for farmers in the floodplain.  

Additional updates from NC Pork will be posted to http://www.ncpork.org/news.