Hurricane Matthew has flooded several chicken farms in eastern North Carolina and left many out of power. When disaster strikes like this, farmers face may find themselves facing loss or damage to their home, to their land and essential farm equipment, and a long road to recovery and rebuilding. On top of that, as the flood waters receded chicken and livestock farmers will face another dilemma – they may have lost entire flocks, which can be hundreds of thousands of birds. In these catastrophic loss situations, farmers’ contracts make it clear that even though the companies technically own the birds while they are alive, the farmers themselves have to take on the burden and risk of disposing of the dead bird carcasses in a timely and safe way.
On October 13th, the NC Division of Employment Security announced the approval of 20 North Carolina counties for Disaster Unemployment Assistance. The following counties were approved, although more counties may be added at a later date: Beaufort, Bertie, Bladen, Columbus, Cumberland, Dare, Edgecombe, Greene, Harnett, Hoke, Hyde, Johnston, Jones, Lenoir, Nash, Pitt, Robeson, Sampson, Wayne and Wilson. This program is available for individuals who are prevented from working due to the hurricane, including farmers who are prevented from performing their normal tasks due to storm damage. This includes not being able to farm because they are cleaning up damage.