Farm losses from Hurricane Florence could impact your grocery bill

U.S. & World

STRUTHERS, OH (WKBN) – The major impact from Florence has been flooding, with 80,000 homes declared unlivable. Now, the high water is affecting animals and that could have a far-reaching impact.

Will Lightner, owner of Lightner Meats in Struthers, has been busy this summer. It’s grilling time and people love chicken for barbecuing and putting on spits, but over 3 million chickens were killed this week by flooding in North Carolina after Florence. 

“The first thing I thought was Wow, what’s going to happen to the poultry industry,” Lightner said.

Many farmers got their animals to higher ground but others couldn’t as they were under mandatory evacuation orders.

The number of animals that died is larger than when Hurricane Matthew hit two years ago. Lightner was thinking of the farmers and their loss.

“How long before his stock is replenished because he is going to have to start from peeps up, and you just don’t come with a full-grown chicken,” Lightner said. “I think that is probably going to drive chicken prices up because when you lose that many chickens, there is going to be a scarcity of them.”

Along with chicken, Lightner also sells plenty of pork. He also uses those meats in his specialty products like chicken sausage and kielbasa. There were 5,000 hogs killed in North Carolina, too.

Lightner sold 200 pounds of kielbasa a day around Easter. He’s looking forward to the holidays expecting to sell much more. Right now, he’s hoping the situation in the south won’t have a big effect or last long. For now, he’s holding his prices steady.

“When it comes in my door and the prices go up, that is when I am going to have to up the price,” Lightner said. “I won’t up any price if I already have a product. That is not the way to do it.”

Lightner empathizes with the farmers in that region because he used to raise animals with his family. 

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