Looking Ahead to the New Year

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As we enter this holiday season, we know many of our members are looking at a different celebration than in years past. Hurricanes Florence and Michael left homes and farms to be rebuilt or repaired, vehicles to be replaced and lost income to account for at the end of 2018. Our hearts go out to those who are continuing to feel the impact of these two weather disasters.

North Carolina farmers and rural residents have endured two 500-year flood events in three years, from Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Hurricane Florence this year. Before the storms came this fall, farmers were counting on a good harvest to offset export losses due to trade disputes and ongoing low commodity prices that have brought net
farm down by 47 percent nationwide since 2013.

In spite of catastrophe, farmers are pulling themselves up and dusting themselves off to the best of their abilities, but there’s only so much they can do without help. Already, many generous contributions to our Florence Relief Fund are helping meet immediate needs on the farm to assist struggling farmers with planting a crop next year. After successive years of weather disasters and low prices, our farmers are in desperate need of significant federal and state financial aid quickly. The crop and livestock loss from Hurricane Florence is estimated at $1.1 billion, turning this year’s harvest into a salvage operation. Rebuilding and recovery will be projects that last for years, not months, and our farmers need money, not loans, just to make it to next year.

Our insurance company has also felt the wrath of these hurricanes. Despite paying out $250 million in claims already, our service, strength and stability have not wavered through the storms. That’s why members can continue to rely on North Carolina Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company.

As 2019 begins, N.C. Farm Bureau looks forward to working with a new U.S. Congress and N.C. General Assembly and educating them about the state’s largest industry. Legislative representation continues to become more urban, but rural needs and support of agriculture remain critically important, especially in the midst of rebuilding and recovery. We need our elected officials to know us, we need them to understand us and we need them to listen to us.

Even with all of the challenges of 2018, North Carolina Farm Bureau remains strong and ready to serve our members in 2019 and in the years to come. We wish you and your loved ones a merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous new year.

– Larry Wooten

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