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Congressman calls for emergency declaration to help farmers amid ongoing drought

Congressman Don Davis and Bob Etheridge, USDA FSA, inspecting corn at Varnell Farm.
Office of Congressman Don Davis
Congressman Don Davis and Bob Etheridge, USDA FSA, inspecting corn at Varnell Farm.

An eastern North Carolina U.S. Congressman says drought conditions across the state have prompted the need for an emergency declaration for the Tarheel state’s farmers.

Congressman Don Davis said every county in eastern North Carolina is grappling with the drought, and federal officials must take immediate action to offer support to the region’s farmers and rural communities.

The North Carolina Farm Service Agency’s Executive Director Bob Etheridge said one in five jobs in the state are dependent on agriculture, and little to no rain in over a month in some places is a recipe for disaster.

Shane Varnell, owner of Varnell Farms in Rocky Mount, said the heat has also done as much damage as the drought.

Agriculture is the number one industry in North Carolina, bringing in $111.1 billion annually to the state.

Annette is originally a Midwest gal, born and raised in Michigan, but with career stops in many surrounding states, the Pacific Northwest, and various parts of the southeast. An award-winning journalist and mother of four, Annette moved to eastern North Carolina in 2019 to be closer to family – in particular, her two young grandchildren. It’s possible that a -27 day with a -68 windchill in Minnesota may have also played a role in that decision. In her spare time, Annette does a lot of kiddo cuddling, reading, and producing the coolest Halloween costumes anyone has ever seen. She has also worked as a diversity and inclusion facilitator serving school districts and large corporations. It’s the people that make this beautiful area special, and she wants to share those stories that touch the hearts of others. If you have a story idea to share, please reach out by email to westona@cravencc.edu.