The State of North Carolina paid between $11 million and $13 million to compost chickens and turkeys that were lost to Hurricane Florence in September, the state’s agriculture commissioner said.
During a recent presentation to state legislators, North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner said the storm and subsequent flooding was responsible for the death of about 4 million birds. The primary expense involved was for sawdust, which was mixed with the poultry carcasses for the composting process, reported WRAL.
Adding to the sawdust-related costs to have it shipped in. While most of the sawdust came from North and South Carolina, some had to be transported from as far away as Oklahoma. When questioned by one legislator whether the state could have sought bids for sawdust, Troxler said that if it would have done so, it would have prolonged the process.
Even though the expense did seem excessive to some lawmakers, the state remained well under the budget of $20 million, which was approved by the administration of Gov. Roy Cooper.
Troxler said most of the expenses should be reimbursed by the federal government.
It was estimated on October 1 by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services that Hurrian Florence was responsible for more than $1.1 billion in crop damage and livestock and poultry losses in the state.
The storm caused either live bird losses or disruptions to poultry plant production for numerous poultry companies, including Sanderson Farms, House of Raeford Farms, Perdue Farms, Tyson Foods and Butterball. Sanderson Farms alone reported the loss of about 2.1 million chickens.
Just a few weeks after Hurricane Florence caused widespread damage to poultry farms in the Southeastern United States, Hurricane Michael was responsible for similar destruction. The Georgia Department of Agriculture reported that 84 poultry houses and about 2 million birds were lost. That storm also prompted Tyson Foods, Sanderson Farms and Wayne Farms to suspend operations at certain plants.