More than 60 tornadoes cut an erratic path on Saturday from south-central North Carolina northeastward to the Virginia line, leaving 21 dead and untold dollars in property damage.

The zig-zagged path of the tornadoes took it through the heart of North Carolina’s cotton, peanut, livestock, and grain production region. While death and destruction lay in the direct path of the twisters, wind and rain damage from the front that produced the killer storms wreaked havoc on early planted crops and set back planting dates for others.

Though cities like Raleigh, Clinton and other small to mid-size towns and cities weren’t spared death and destruction, the brunt of the storms passed over primarily rural areas of the state. Along the more than 150 mile long path of the 60-plus twisters, debris from livestock barns, tobacco barns, greenhouses, grain storage silos, even dead livestock was widespread.

“The biggest problem for agriculture is the large amount of debris that is spread across multiple counties in the state,” says Richard Rhodes, Extension coordinator in Bertie County. It’s going to be difficult for farmers to get into their fields in many cases and impossible to harvest wheat with so much debris on the ground, he adds.

The deadliest of the twisters cut a swath across Bertie County, killing 11 people and leaving farmland in such disarray that planting a crop of any kind is still in question. “In one particular stretch of land between Askewville and Colerain, it is evident where the tornado that killed several people touched down. It was only 150 yards or so where it first came down, but widened out to a mile and a half or more wide once it came down. That’s a big agriculture area and debris is everywhere,” Rhodes stressed.