Hurricane Isaias made landfall in North Carolina on Monday night and traveled directly through the state's major pork producing counties. Despite heavy rains, initial reports indicate that no pig farms experienced any significant issues.
There are no reports of impacts to anerobic treatment lagoons and only limited reports of farms that have lost power. Wind damage has been minimal.
Since Hurricane Floyd hit the state more than 20 years ago, causing widespread damage, hurricane preparation has become a year-round practice for pork producers.
Long before hurricane season arrives, farmers carefully manage treatment lagoons to maintain adequate storage in the event of heavy rains. As storms approach, farmers prepare for potential power outages, flooding and other disruptions by positioning generators and animal feed on farms and at key locations in hog-producing counties. When necessary, animals are moved to higher ground or sent to market early.
In addition, hundreds of lagoons in flood-prone areas have been voluntarily closed and no new pig farms have been built in the state during the past two decades.
History shows that pig farms have fared well during hurricanes. During recent storms Hurricane Matthew and Hurricane Florence — two of the most substantial hurricanes to strike North Carolina ever — pig farms experienced limited impacts. During Florence in 2018, while rivers swelled to record heights and entire communities were inundated by flood waters, 98% of treatment lagoons performed exactly as intended, suffering little or no damage.
During Hurricane Dorian last year and Hurricane Isaias this week, pig farms have performed even better with little to no damage. This reflects the hard work and proactive steps taken by the state's pork industry to prepare for storms like this.