We Are Improving!

We hope that you'll find our new look appealing and the site easier to navigate than before. Please pardon any 404's that you may see, we're trying to tidy those up!  Should you find yourself on a 404 page please use the search feature in the navigation bar.  

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

U.S. Congressman Don Davis Tuesday highlighted the need for an emergency declaration due to the drought and its effects on farmers.

Davis was joined in Rocky Mount by United States Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency State Executive Director Bob Etheridge.

Davis and Etheridge  inspected corn and tobacco at Varnell Farms and Rest-A-Bit Farms. 

“Every county in eastern North Carolina is currently grappling with the drought,” said Davis. “We must take immediate action to offer unwavering support to our farmers and rural communities experiencing losses from this extreme weather event.”

Currently 99 out of 100 of North Carolina’s counties are experiencing varying levels of drought, even though it rained throughout much of North Carolina from June 29 to June 30. 

All counties east of Raleigh, including all of North Carolina’s First Congressional District, are experiencing moderate drought — D1 level. 

There are 57 counties in North Carolina that are experiencing D1 levels of drought. 

There are 42 counties experiencing abnormally dry conditions. 

“One in five jobs in North Carolina are dependent on agriculture,” Etheridge said. “Little to no rain in over a month in some places is a recipe for disaster for farmers. For those of us who live in town, we see the effects, but for our farmers, they feel them.” 

Only 4.5 percent of the state was classified as abnormally dry two weeks ago. 

Since then, a heat dome has set in, spiking temperatures and preventing any significant rainfall. This is only the second time since 2000 that more than half of North Carolina has seen drought classifications worsen, according to the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality.

 “This June is one of the driest on record and definitely the driest I can remember,” said Shane Varnell, owner of Varnell Farms. “The heat has also done as much damage as the drought. Having both is a recipe for disaster.”

Agriculture is the number one industry in North Carolina, bringing in $111.1 billion annually to the state. 

In NC-01, over $2.989 billion worth of agricultural products are sold yearly, accounting for 16 percent of state agriculture sales. 

Definitions of levels of drought and impact:

D0, Abnormally Dry: Short-term dryness slowing planting, growth of crops or pastures. Some lingering water deficits. Pastures or crops not fully recovered.

D1, Moderate Drought: Some damage to crops, pastures. Streams reservoirs, or wells low, some water shortages developing or imminent. Voluntary water use restrictions requested.

D2, Severe Drought: Crop or pasture loss likely. Water shortages are common. Water restrictions imposed.

D3, Extreme Drought: Major crop/pasture losses. Widespread water shortages or restrictions.

D4, Exceptional Drought: Exceptional and widespread crop/pasture losses. Shortages of water in reservoirs, streams, and wells creating water emergencies.

Farmers and producers impacted by the drought can visit this link for resources.