The General Assembly will reconvene for a special session on Tuesday, October 2nd at 10 AM. Lawmakers will be taking up issues to address disaster relief. School calendars, teacher pay, and delays in small business tax deadlines will be up for discussion. The session could then be adjourned until October 9th to address any further funding needs and pending executive agency reports.
NC Agriculture update
North Carolina’s agricultural industry contributes $84 billion to the state’s economy, making the industry a principal component of the state’s economy. Unfortunately, Hurricane Florence caused over $1.1 billion in crop and livestock losses. Compared to the $400 million is losses caused by Hurricane Matthew two years ago.
The NC Department of Agriculture has estimated that livestock losses are around 4.1 million and 5,500 hogs have perished in the storm. The Department of Agriculture has based estimates around the 35 hardest-hit counties in the state. They also projected a five-year average for the prices of commodities and average production of crops.
Estimated crop losses:
- Row crop losses – $986.6 million
- Forestry losses – $69.6 million
- Green industry losses – $30 million
- Vegetable and horticulture crop losses – $26.8 million
- Livestock, poultry and aquaculture losses – $23.1 million
In a press release, NC Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said “We knew the losses would be significant because it was harvest time for so many of our major crops and the storm hit our top six agricultural counties especially hard. These early estimates show just what a devastating and staggering blow this hurricane leveled at our agriculture industry.”
Damages across the state may not be fully known for months as residents and agencies continue to assess.
As the state continues its recovery efforts from the impact of Hurricane Florence, here are a number of resources to help aid the process:
- North Carolina Department of Public Safety: Hurricane Florence Updates
- Dial 2-1-1 for general information about shelters, food assistance and storm recovery help
Donating to Recovery Efforts
- NC Small Business & Technology Development Center: Recovery Resource
- Carolina Small Business Development Fund’s Hurricane Florence Recovery Loan Program
The Hurricane Florence Recovery Loan Program is specifically designed to assist small business owners whose operations were impacted by the storm in September 2018.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation has put together a step-by-step small business recovery guide, which includes numerous links and suggestions for a variety of scenarios. Call 1-888-MY-BIZ-HELP (1-888-692-4943) for more assistance.
This federal website allows you to apply for more than 70 forms of disaster assistance from 17 federal agencies.
- Small Business Association (SBA) Disaster Loans
Storm impact on Elections
Absentee ballot request have been on the rise across the state in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. The storm’s impact has been so substantial in certain parts of the state that discussions of pushing the voter registration deadline have arisen. The NC State Board of Elections began sending out absentee ballots to Hurricane shelters across the state weeks ago.
Many people have been displaced by the storm and have no timeline for when they could return back to their permanent place of residence. By law, absentee voters must be allowed at least 45 days to receive, complete, and mail in their ballots. The early voting date is still October 17th and election day is November 6th.