Hurricane Makes Recovery Harder For Farmers

Hurricane Matthew makes it harder for farmers.

Clarendon County, SC (WLTX) - Some farmers were just getting back on their feet following last year's flood when Hurricane Matthew hit.

"No matter where we go from here. It is a disaster for farmers," Jeremy Cannon said.

Cannon is a fourth generation farmer in Turbeville, a small town located in Clarendon County.

The hurricane passed, but they're not in clear. He's still assessing the damages.

"We have more trees down in the fields this year than we did during Hugo," Cannon said.

His cotton and soybean crops were hit hard.

"It's just an uneasy feeling. These soybeans were green, still had leaves on them before the hurricane. There will still be some beans to harvest there. It's not a complete loss," he said.

Cannon said only about 10 to 20 percent of his crops were impacted.

That's the good news. The bad news, "Coming off of a year with a thousand year flood and all of the losses that we brought into this year, any crop loss is a disaster for farmers," Cannon said.

He said it doesn't matter how much you're able to grow because a storm like that can steal it right from under you.

"We saw that last year. We made a pretty good crop last year and it never dried off to harvest the crop," he said.

Stephanie Sox is with the Department of Agriculture. She said most farmers hit by the hurricane are facing many of the same issues. And it's not just crops. Chicken farmers lost over 200,000 birds.

"Once we have those numbers and a better understanding of just how hard this impact is then, we can know how to proceed," Sox said.

Meanwhile farmers like Cannon will have to ride it out, harvest as much as they can and wait for possible help because some may lose everything.

"Several farmers I know really put up all of the collateral I had, some of us it was our house, some of it was the land that they own just to be able to farm this year with hopes of making an excellent crop and being able to pay back those loses from last year," he said.

The Department of Agriculture wants farmers to know that they can fill out a Damage Assessment Form and asks that they contact their farm service agency offices, so they can get the help they need.

(© 2016 WLTX)


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