Panhandle Farmers Hoping for a Wet Spring

By: Bryan Anderson Email
By: Bryan Anderson Email

MARIANNA, FL 3/14/2012 --

After suffering another dry weather season last year, many are crossing their fingers and praying that this year will bring in a bumper crop.

It's that time of year again in the farming community, time to start planting for the next growing season.

"It is a busy time from paperwork, to winter-time projects, to starting the new year," said Bascom Farmer Jeffery Pittman.

Pittman spent Tuesday preparing one of his fields for corn crops.

"All the tillage practices are starting up usually in March. We're starting to strip till the corn land," said Pittman.

He said right now his morale is high, but he told WCTV it's hard to forget how difficult the job's been in recent years.

"We need to go back to what we call a normal weather pattern. The rainfall that we've received the last two years has just not been adequate," said Pittman.

And it's not just weather worrying Pittman and his neighbors. Farmers are also feeling the pain at the pump.

Pittman expects to spend around a half million dollars on fuel to irrigate his crops this year, and he said that's about half what he used to spend on more average growing seasons.

"We've never started this early in the year with fuel prices being where they're at. The forecast could be four dollar plus for farm fuel prices," said Pittman.

With higher than normal fuel prices and what could be yet another season of wild weather, Pittman said he and many other farmers are still positive about what's to come in the next several months.

"I'm anticipating hopefully a good year. Of course another set of challenges start in 2012," said Pittman.

Farmers are only planting corn right now. They'll start with peanuts and cotton at the end of April.

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