Trouw Nutrition USA employee lends helping hand after Hurricane Matthew

17 October 2016

In early October, Hurricane Matthew barreled through the East Coast, touching down in North Carolina and leaving a path of destruction.

Originally, the storm was expected to deliver 3 to 5 inches of rain and some minor winds; in the end, Matthew left some areas with 10 to 15 inches of rain (after having 5 to 9 inches the previous week) and tropical storm force winds. Residents and business owners were ill prepared for the catastrophe.

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While the storm has passed, the worst is yet to come as all of the water makes its way to the coast causing the rivers in eastern North Carolina to crest above record levels. This is the state's second "100 year flood" in the last 17 years, and the effects will be felt by the livestock industry for weeks, months and years to come.  

"Roads are washed out, power is still out and some livestock facilities are already under water or will be as the rivers crest. For the animals that have survived the devastation, delivering feed has become a huge challenge trying to navigate the road blocks and detours around the farms," said Justin Whitley, Swine Key Account Manager.

With the support of his supervisor Jay Clary, Justin spent a week assisting local customers and other farm owners in their clean-up efforts. As a resident of the area, Justin took the initiative to help those in need, focusing on the Nutreco value of caring.

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) has confirmed that 1.8 million head of poultry died, and most of those birds were broilers. However, Donald van der Vaart, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, said the number of losses could estimate to be around 5 million birds.

Hog farms across the area are continuing to assess the damage caused by Hurricane Matthew and the extensive flooding. There are more than 2,100 permitted hog farms in North Carolina, and the vast majority of them faced tremendous challenges. Fortunately, the damage up to this point has been relatively minimal. Fewer than 3,000 swine were killed during the hurricane, and only one farm lost any swine due to flooding.

Agriculture is North Carolina's top industry, contributing around $84 billion to the economy, according to the NCDA&CS. Please pray for the people and especially the farmers of North Carolina as they begin the long road to recovery.

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