The recent storms and subsequent flooding in South Carolina are hurting the state’s poultry industry, although state officials are still assessing the damage.

Harry Ott, executive director USDA’s South Carolina Farm Service Agency (FSA) said in a USDA Radio News interview that while the agency has not received specific reports on bird losses at South Carolina poultry farms, the rains have caused other problems for poultry producers.

“We had a lot of roads get washed out, we’ve had some reports of poultry operations getting out of feed because they couldn’t get trucks in to the operations,” said Ott. “Until we get into all of these areas and assess the damages, it’s pretty difficult to get a firm number on it.”

House of Raeford avoids damage to South Carolina plants

House of Raeford Farms, a North Carolina-based poultry company with operations also in South Carolina, appears to have been “pretty fortunate,” according to company spokesman Dave Witter.

Witter said there was no known damage of any significance to the company’s contract grow-out farms. There was also no known damage to the company’s plant in West Columbia or its further processing plant in Hemingway.

The biggest problem for House of Raeford, Witter said, is also one concerning the conditions of the roads.

“The main problem in both locations is road conditions, which may make it difficult for some of our employees to get to work,” he said

South Carolina crop damage

Ott said he is confident the storms caused at least $300 million worth of damage to the row crops alone. About 70 percent of the state’s cotton and peanut crop have been lost, and about 50 percent of the state’s soybeans have been lost.

He also estimates that most fall vegetables that were ready to be harvested have been lost.

That $300 million estimate could likely change once more reports of damage are received.

Farmers encouraged to report damage

Clemson Livestock Poultry Health (LPH), a state regulatory agency that protects animal health and investigates diseases, is asking livestock and poultry producers to document any property damage to appropriate parties, including local county Clemson Extension agents.

LPH is also asking farmers to check animals for injuries that may have been incurred as a result of prolonged exposure to flooded areas.