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Farmer Woes

By: Monica Buchanan
By: Monica Buchanan

Georgia's tobacco crop has taken a beating from two weeks of heavy rain, and tobacco farmers don't know if the crop will bounce back.

Fred Wetherington has been dealt his share of hard times. From the federal tobacco buyout program to last year's hurricanes, Fred thought he'd been through it all, but after seeing 16 inches of rain fall on his fields in 15 days, Fred was wrong.

Fred says, "I've never had this kind of rain in this short a period of time during this part of the year in the first part of June."

All that water has drenched the fields and drowned almost 20 percent of the tobacco crop, forcing Fred to make a tough decision.

Fred says, "It looks like we probably will abandon some of it. I don't know if it will be whole fields or part of fields. It's just that there's nothing there."

With all the recent rain, you might think the sunlight has been a blessing for these farmers, but you might want to think again. Farmers say the sunlight is actually causing sun blisters on the weak crop, further destroying its quality.

Fred says, "You know, it's really confusing. Do you invest more money in the crop to try and save it, or do you walk away from it?"

It's a challenge farmers like Fred are facing and one that doesn't seem to have a happy ending. Tobacco farmers say it's too late in the season to replant the crop and too early to try to harvest any of the tobacco.


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