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North Carolina Sweet Potato Growers scramble to harvest their crop before hurricane Florence hits

North Carolina Sweet Potato Growers scramble to harvest their crop before hurricane Florence hits

Hurricane Florence - here seen from the International Space Station - is heading for landfall in North Carolina, where 55 percent of the US sweet potatoes are grown (acreage) this year. (Courtesy: Alexander Gerst, Commander of ISS Exp 57 / Twitter)

September 13, 2018
Hurricane Florence, is heading for North Carolina, where 55 percent of the US sweet potatoes are grown (acreage) this year.

North Carolina sweet potato growers are scrambling to harvest as much of their crop as possible before Hurricane Florence makes landfall.

(Click to enlarge)

The counties in North Carolina where potato and sweet potato cultivation is concentrated are directly in the projected path of hurricane Florence
(Courtesy: North Carolina State University)

North Carolina Rainfall forecast related to Florence.
Graph derived from: Florence Rainfall Forecast - created 4:40 AM EDT - for the period Sept 13-20, 2018 (Courtesy: NHC)

Yesterday afternoon, the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission issued the following statement:

“North Carolina Sweet Potato farmers across the state are continuing to work tirelessly to harvest their crops before Hurricane Florence makes her projected landfall along the North Carolina coast later this week.”

“Farmers have been working day and night to harvest as much of their crops as they can, along with preparing their facilities and personal property in the potential path of the storm. It is important to get as many potatoes out of the ground as possible as warm air and soil temperatures can speed up rot.”

“Covington, one of the most popular varieties of North Carolina sweet potatoes, have proven to be fairly weather tolerant. We are also optimistic that the cooler weather forecasted for next week will help keep storage facilities as cool as possible, which would help with storage in the case of post-storm power outages.”

“Following the storm, the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission will work closely with all of our farmers to assess damages.”

The contribution of North Carolina to the total sweet potato production in the United States, 2007-2015 (Courtesy: USDA - ERS)

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The North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission Inc. (NCSPC) is a nonprofit corporation made up of over 400 sweet potato growers along with the packers, processors and business associates that support them.