Published 9:10 PM EDT Sep 18, 2018
At least 1.7 million chickens have died in flooding from Hurricane Florence, according to a major poultry producer.
The chickens died at 60 farm buildings located at independent farms in North Carolina, Sanderson Farms announced Monday. The number of chickens killed by flooding might continue to rise, the company says.
Approximately six million more chickens were isolated by flood waters at 30 farms, the company said. If feed trucks remain unable to reach the affected farms, more chickens could die as a result of the flooding.
The chickens were being raised for market at farms that supply the company's poultry processing plants
The company reported that Florence would result in short-term supply disruptions, but said it had no major damage at its facilities.
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North Carolina is a major poultry producer, ranking fourth in the nation for broiler chicken production, according to 2017 figures from the United States Department of Agriculture. Boilers are chickens raised for meat production.
North Carolina raised more than 800 million broiler chickens in 2017, according to USDA records.
The county with the largest population of chickens: Flood-ravaged Duplin County. On Saturday, a Duplin County town was cut off by flood waters.
Florence and the flooding in its aftermath has closed more than 100 roads and cut off power to almost 500,000 homes and businesses. More than 30 people in the Carolinas have died as a result of the storm.
The overall cost to the state's agriculture is still unknown. Hog production is another large industry in the state, but the N.C. Pork Council says mortality figures are not yet available.
Contributing: John Bacon and Jorge L. Ortiz, USA TODAY; The Associated Press.