Extension workers in Carroll County, Georgia, are assessing the toll taken by Winter Storm Benji, which is already known to have caused damages to a Pilgrim’s poultry plant and at least one producer to lose 10,000 chickens.

According to the Times-Georgian, initial reports following the December 8 storm, which resulted in 10 inches of snow in the county, indicated that the impact on the poultry industry was not substantial. However, since that time, more producers have contacted local agencies to let them know otherwise. As a result, the staff at the Carroll County Extension Service have been collecting information from farmers affected by the storm, that not only resulted in heavy snowfall, but also low temperatures and lengthy power outages.

Damage to Pilgrim’s plant

Pilgrim’s suffered a substantial loss at its facility in Carrollton, Cameron Bruett, head of corporate affairs for JBS USA/Pilgrim's, told the Times-Georgian, although he said it was too early to determine how severe the company’s financial loss will be as a result of the storm.

Six pullet/boiler houses at the Carrollton complex sustained considerable structural damage, with three of them being considered a total loss.

Pilgrim’s suspended operations in Carrollton on December 8, but “the facility is now fully operational," Bruett said.

Farms suffering damages

One broiler farm near the community of Tyus reportedly lost an entire flock when a barn roof collapsed, and the remaining birds were lost due to exposure to the elements, said Bud Benefield, deputy chief of Carroll County Fire Rescue.

Benefield added that he had seen about 5 or 6 farms that were damaged as a result of the storm, and those damages were suffered not only in the poultry industry, but in other agricultural sectors as well.