South Georgia farm suffers heavy loss after Irma's strong winds

By: Noelani Mathews | WCTV Eyewitness News
September 18, 2017

LANIER CO., Ga. (WCTV) -- Four-week-old bell pepper plants are taking a big hit in South Georgia.

Irma's winds causing record damage at Ken Corbett Farms.

"It isn't very pretty, but it looks a lot better than a week ago," says Justin Corbett. "You have to be optimistic to be a farmer."

They says you can see where the wind damaged many bell pepper plants by completely chopping off the bud at the top of the plant.

"These pepper plants kind of turn into your children, trying to raise them," says Corbett.

Before Irma, they stringed all the plants to hold them straight, however this time, they say it caused more damage.

Their 50-acre field in Lanier County should produce 100,000 boxes of bell pepper, but it's now cut by 40%.

"Everybody works so hard and invests so much into this to try and make a crop," says Corbett. "It's just hard for someone to take a hit like that like that."

Ken Corbett Farms already took a huge hit after a cold snap in March.

This year's weather unfavorable to their South Georgia crops.

"If you really try to plan Mother Nature will just mess you up," says John Holton, General Manager for Farmer Brown's Produce Market.

The local produce market is also feeling the pressure.

They say Ken Corbett Farms isn't their only client to have a rough year.

"A lot of the product is bad and not coming to us easy, which in return means higher prices or we may not see it," says Holton.

The unfortunate year is leaving local farmers glued to the forecast.

"Turn to the east," says Corbett, joking about Hurricane Maria.

Ken Corbett Farms hoping mother nature doesn't strike again.

Starting this week, the farm is harvesting squash, cucumber, and eggplant.

They say thousands of dollars worth were scarred by the storm and had to be thrown away.

Next week, they will start harvesting their bell pepper.