‘The worst loss we’ve ever had’: Farmers hit hard in Alamance County storm

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ALAMANCE COUNTY, N.C. -- Rows of tobacco plants line Blanchard Road in Northeast Alamance County. The rows in perfect spacing -- but the plants in them -- broken off and withered up.

Countless hours and countless dollars -- gone.

When Elizabeth Cobb heard the storm from her home,  she knew it'd be bad.

"As old as I am, I've never seen such a storm as we had yesterday," the 82-year-old said.

The tobacco farm surrounding Cobb's home, which is now run primarily by her son and grandchild, is destroyed.

"It's totally lost. There's nothing that can be saved," she said. "I hardly have words."

Cobb said her son, Jamie, a Burlington firefighter, was at work when his wife called to tell him how bad the weather was getting on their property.

"The hail knocked all the leaves off," said JT Cobb, Elizabeth's grandson. "It's a total loss. It's all gone."

JT said his dad spent 40-50 hours a week keeping up the tobacco, on top of his firefighting duties. The tobacco was on track for a great season.

The Cobbs aren't alone in their heartache. A few miles away, Randy Simmons feels it, too.

"This is the worst loss we've ever had," he said. "This is the worst."

"Our grain farm actually pays for my college," Simmons' granddaughter Jordan Miller said. "So I hope it's not going to have too much of an impact."

Simmons said his 50 acres of corn are ruined. Plus, he spent much of Thursday working to repair his barn, after a tree fell on top of it.

Still, he finds time to be grateful.

"I'm just thankful for the Lord," he said. "It takes valleys to see him work. We're just grateful that we're here. We're going to get through this."

Simmons said his farm did have insurance. The Cobb farm did not.