BYH, when there is a solar energy spill, it's just called a NICE DAY. (this one has better wording than the other one I...

$800 million in disaster aid to farmers hit by hurricanes

The federal government is sending $800 million in aid to farmers in three southern states that were devastated by last year's hurricanes

Farm Relief
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FILE- In this Sept. 20, 2018, file photo, damaged tobacco plants by Hurricane Florence stand unharvested in fields near Fremont, N.C. The federal government is sending $800 million in aid to farmers in four southern states that were most devastated last year by hurricanes Michael and Florence. The $800 million in aid will be distributed as block grants to communities in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina. (AP Photo/Emery P. Dalesio, File)

Farm Relief-1

Associated Press

Friday, November 8, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The federal government announced $800 million in aid Friday to farmers in three southern states that were devastated by last year’s hurricanes.

Nearly half that money will go to Florida, where timber farmers suffered catastrophic losses when Hurricane Michael came ashore in October 2018 and destroyed 2.8 million acres of commercially grown trees.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said the funding also will help Alabama and Georgia cover hurricane losses in the timber, cattle and poultry industries.

The money, which will be distributed as block grants to communities, is part of a $3 billion disaster relief package authorized by Congress earlier this year to help communities recovering from wildfires, flooding, tornadoes and hurricanes.

“Natural disasters dealt producers some hefty blows in the past couple of years,” a statement from Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says. “While we can’t make producers whole, we can give them a helping hand to get back on their feet and prepare for next year’s planting and harvest.”

Florida’s share is expected to top $380 million, while $347 million is headed to Georgia, where the timber industry also suffered significant losses. Alabama gets $25 million.

While the announcement by federal officials referenced Hurricane Florence, the state hardest hit by that storm — North Carolina — was not among the immediate beneficiaries being announced on Friday. North Carolina and federal officials were still negotiating over the terms of the aid package, U.S. Farm Service Agency Administrator Richard Fordyce told The Associated Press.

The remaining money, more than $40 million, could end up helping farmers in the Tar Heel State who were hit hard by Hurricane Florence.

The financial help is especially welcome in Florida’s panhandle, where the timber industry suffered $1.3 billion in losses. Much of that timber is rotting in denuded forests partly because many farmers did not have the resources to harvest logs. In order to for them to reforest their land, farmers will have to invest thousands of dollars to clear their property of debris.

Unlike other farmers whose crops can be insured, timber growers are usually on their own.

“Although it won’t make forest landowners whole, it will make a tremendous difference in their ability to begin recovery and move forward with clean-up and reforestation,” said Alan Shelby, the executive vice president of the Florida Forestry Association.

Farmers have been waiting for relief for months, and federal officials said they hoped to finalize contracts by Thanksgiving and release money to the states soon after.

“In the coming weeks, our priority will be moving this funding forward, so that timber producers can have checks in hand and trees in the ground,” Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said.

Hurricane Michael ploughed through the Florida Panhandle as a Category 5 storm, the strongest ever recorded to hit the region, before pummeling Georgia and the Carolinas. It destroyed thousands of homes and battered coastal and rural communities, many still trying to recover a year later.

Weeks earlier, Hurricane Florence whipped through North Carolina and deluged the region with flooding rains.

Steve Troxler, the agriculture commissioner for North Carolina, said negotiations with federal officials will continue so his state’s farmers get their share of aid.

“About 70% of the federal funding was earmarked for a timber program that won’t help our farmers,” he said, “because it stipulates that the funding cover timber that was damaged beyond repair.”

While the state had significant timber losses, Troxler said, the damage did not meet the funding guidelines set by federal officials.

An earlier version of this report had an incorrect spelling of U.S. Farm Service Agency Administrator Richard Fordyce’s name.


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.


November 12, 2019 - 39 minutes ago

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) _ Precision BioSciences Inc. (DTIL) on Tuesday reported a loss of $20.7 million in its third quarter.

The Durham, North Carolina-based company said it had a loss of 41 cents per share.

The results topped Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of three analysts surveyed by…

November 12, 2019

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) _ Advance Auto Parts Inc. (AAP) on Tuesday reported third-quarter profit of $123.7 million.

On a per-share basis, the Raleigh, North Carolina-based company said it had net income of $1.75. Earnings, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, came to $2.10 per share.

The results…

November 12, 2019

Florida International (1-1) vs. North Carolina State (1-1)

PNC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina; Wednesday, 9 p.m. EST

BOTTOM LINE: Florida International and North Carolina State both look to put winning streaks together . Florida International blew out Ave Maria by 42 on Friday. North Carolina State…

November 12, 2019

OCRACOKE, N.C. (AP) — County commissioners on the North Carolina coast have moved to reopen an island ravaged by Hurricane Dorian.

Acting on a recommendation from the Ocracoke Control Group, the Hyde County Commissioners on Monday adopted the proposal to open the island to visitors on Nov. 22, or…

November 12, 2019

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Officials in a North Carolina school system had to warn parents not to use Google to search for two schools because the results included explicit images.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reports searches for Four Oaks Middle School and South Johnston High School over the weekend…

November 12, 2019

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina legislators are still shaping proposals for the state’s congressional map as the General Assembly reconvenes in response to a judicial ruling encouraging approval of replacement lines.

A joint House-Senate committee will meet on Tuesday after holding lengthy…

November 12, 2019

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Authorities in North Carolina say an inmate has died after injuring himself in an apparent suicide attempt.

Citing a Buncombe County sheriff’s statement, The Asheville Citizen-Times reports 45-year-old Eric Grogan died Sunday. The statement says Grogan “injured himself”…

November 12, 2019

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) _ The winning numbers in Monday evening’s drawing of the North Carolina Lottery’s “Pick 3 Evening” game were:

8-5-6, Lucky Sum: 19

(eight, five, six; Lucky Sum: nineteen)

November 12, 2019

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) _ The winning numbers in Monday evening’s drawing of the North Carolina Lottery’s “Cash 5” game were:


(three, six, twelve, twenty-two, thirty-four)

Estimated jackpot: $154,000

November 11, 2019

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A nonprofit group which helps at-risk horses is reporting a series of stabbings involving horses in North Carolina and South Carolina.

The Charlotte Observer reports Fleet of Angels says there were instances on Sunday of some horses found stabbed in their pastures. The first…

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