Raeford, North Carolina, United States/August 17, 2018: Flood waters backing up on a bridge just south of Raeford North Carolina after Hurricane Florence

North Carolinians face shortage of drinking water: According to Environmental Protection Agency spokesperson Maggie Sauerhage, North Carolina has reported 21 community water systems operating with restrictions and 16 that have completely shut down in addition to several publicly owned treatments plants that are nonoperational. The combination of impassable roads and shutdown water systems has created a shortage of drinking water, with no way to get the supplies to residents stranded in flooded areas. READ MORE

WEATHER EMERGENCIES

Carolina farmers face billions in damages: Hurricane Florence is testing the resolve of farmers in the Carolinas, who could face billions of dollars in agricultural damage while still feeling the sting from Hurricane Matthew in 2016. Early farm reports confirm pre-storm worries about losses to tobacco, cotton and corn crops. North Carolina industry leaders remain anxious about whether sweet potatoes and peanuts will suffer greatly as well. READ MORE

The losses keep mounting: Record breaking rainfall and severe flooding linked to Hurricane Florence has claimed up to 3.4 million birds in North Carolina. The state’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said the figure, which includes broilers, layers and turkeys, could change based on further recovery efforts. One of the worst affected companies has been Sanderson Farms, which reported that 60 of 880 broiler houses and four out of 92 breeder houses had been flooded. READ MORE.

FOOD SAFETY

Food processors and food allergies: Food allergies are a growing public health concern. Research by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology suggests that peanut allergy in children has increased by 21 percent since 2010. Approximately 90 percent of allergic reactions stem from just eight foods: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish, causing 300,000 ambulatory-care visits per year in the U.S. — just among children. READ MORE

THE FUTURE

This robot uses camera to recognize ripe fruit: It’s harvest season in the Northern hemisphere, so farmers head into the fields to gather the fruit of their hard labor. But now robots are along for the ride. A few days ago, a boxy yellow robot rolled through the rows of yellow pepper patches in a Belgian greenhouse, spotting and picking the ripened fruit. READ MORE

And this software tells you when to harvest: Each morning when she gets to work at Bowery Farming Inc., Katie Morich consults a computer monitor displaying all the tasks she needs to accomplish that day. The to-do list’s author is  a piece of proprietary software that uses data collected at the indoor farm to make decisions: how much to water each plant, the intensity of light required, and when to harvest. READ MORE