Goldsboro-area farmers wait to measure damage from Matthew

(Carleigh Griffeth/CBS North Carolina)
(Carleigh Griffeth/CBS North Carolina)

PRINCETON, N.C. (WNCN) – Farmers are still assessing damage after Hurricane Matthew dumped up to 15 inches of rain across Wayne County.

Soybeans at Mitchell’s Farms in Princeton were under feet of water in the days after the storm.

RELATED: CBS North Carolina’s complete Hurricane Matthew coverage

Farmers there said they won’t know the extent of the damage for a couple weeks.

“I’ve been in floods all my life, but I’ve never seen nothing like this one,” said farm owner Charlie Mitchell.

Mitchell’s home of 49 years was ruined by Matthew’s floods while his 2,000 acre Princeton farm was underwater.

Matthew’s winds pulled half of a tin roof off one of their barns. They used a bonfire going to burn the stuff from their homes that were ruined.

The home of his son, Wayne, was flooded but is salvageable.

Their farm equipment can be saved, too.

“All the tractors and equipment, we’re going to have to change the oil and the rear end grease,” Mitchell said.

But six barns worth of tobacco is lost.

“Once you get it dry, if it gets a lot of water in it or something like that, it’s just no good. It molds and you just have to throw it away,” he said.

Mitchell’s corn crop was tall enough to escape the high waters but his soybeans were submerged.

“It molds them and rots them,” Mitchell said. “But you don’t never know until you start harvesting, you know. It’s kind of a waiting game on that.”

Mitchell will start harvesting in a couple weeks but that may be delayed due to Matthew as well.

“Now we’re working on the house and that’s just going to have to wait until we get time to do it you know,” he said.

The Mitchell’s do have some insurance on the lost tobacco because it is a federal crop. The family does not have flood insurance.

They plan on rebuilding and continuing their family’s farming tradition.

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