Storm damages irrigation system

Published 10:30 am Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Jeffery Pope stands in front of a mangled irrigation system at Royal Oak Farms in Drewryville. The April 16 storms that spawned a tornado in Isle of Wight County did $100,000 damage to the system. HATTIE FRANCIS/TIDEWATER NEWS

DREWRYVILLE—The April 16 storms that resulted in a tornado in Isle of Wight County damaged the irrigation system a Southampton County peanut farm.

“The total damage, including the irrigation system, is probably $100,000,” said Jeffery Pope, who operates Royal Oak Farms in Drewryville with his brothers, Chris and Mark Pope. “We had a tree go through a tenant house, we had roofs blown off of buildings. Plus, we’ve got multiple trees down.”

Pope initially thought it was a bad storm until he learned a tree had fallen on the tenant house.

“So Chris called me, and we started riding around and saw it came right through here,” Pope said.

That’s when Pope saw the damage to the farm’s irrigation system.

“It’s going to have to be cut up, and pulled out of the field with a tractor or excavator or something,” he said. “We don’t know at this point whether we’re going to cut it up for scrap metal or what.”

As soon they discovered the damaged irrigation system, he called Benchmark Builders and Irrigation in Murfreesboro, N.C.

“I talked to their parent company in Nebraska, and they’ve got emergency programs and they’re getting us a pivot,” Pope said.

He hopes to have the new irrigation system before planting this year’s peanut crop from May 10-15.

“They thought they’d have it in by the first of the month,” Pope said. “It shouldn’t take them a couple days to put it up.”