Millions of animals left on farms in North Carolina during the record-breaking rainfall have drowned in the flooding.
The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which has been counting livestock deaths in the field, says 3.4 million chickens and turkeys have died so far, along with 5,500 pigs.
“These numbers could change based on further recovery efforts,” the department said in a statement.
North Carolina is the second-largest pork producer in the US, trailing only Iowa, and one of the largest poultry producers in the country. By the state’s count, there are 9.3 million hogs, 819 million chickens, and 33.5 million turkeys housed on farms in North Carolina.
Livestock deaths in North Carolina due to Hurricane Florence already exceed those caused by Hurricane Matthew in 2016. In Hurricane Floyd, which hit the state in 1999, losses ended up totalling 21,000 hogs and around one million poultry birds.