Carolinas farms could take billions in losses from Florence

Hurricane Florence is testing the resolve of farmers in the Carolinas, who could face billions of dollars in agricultural damage while still feeling the sting from Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

Early farm reports confirm pre-storm worries about losses to tobacco, cotton and corn crops. North Carolina industry leaders remain anxious about whether sweet potatoes and peanuts will suffer greatly as well.

North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said Thursday he expected total farm monetary losses to be in the billions in the state. South Carolina crop damage is currently estimated at $125 million.

Tobacco could take the biggest hit among North Carolina field crops. About 40 percent of it was still in the field when Florence arrived, and an industry group projected leaf losses could be $350 million.