Rollercoaster Weather Impacting Crops

This seasons wacky weather is impacting crops in the area

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - 

It's a farmer's life for Eric McClam, the co-founder of City Roots in Columbia.

"I'm relatively young as far as farmers are concerned, about half the age of the average farmer," McClam said.
 
McClam says he may be new to the business, but he's already seen his fair share of bad weather.
 
"From a flood to drought to extreme heat to unseasonably warm to devastatingly cold," McClam said.
 
He says this season is no different.
 
"We kind of joke, farmer's the original form of gambling," McClam said, "mother nature's the house and she usually wins."
 
Now mother nature is dealing up a frost, right after a hand of unseasonably warm weather.
 
"These are blueberries which are now beginning to flower," McClam said pointing to his crops, "but if we were to get a hard freeze this time of year they would actually drop the flowers and then we wouldn't get any fruit."
 
Martin Eubanks, the assistant commissioner of agriculture, says blueberry plants like McClam's should not even be in bloom yet.
 
"I think as everybody knows, we've had an early spring if you will," Eubanks said.
 
Eubanks says all of this pollen we're seeing is a tell tale sign that something is off.
 
"We're probably a solid three maybe four weeks ahead of schedule on some crops," Eubanks said, "so when you have the potential for weather it's obviously a concern this time of year."
 
Eubanks says the crops most at risk - blueberries, strawberries, and peaches - are vital to South Carolina's economy.
 
"Agribusiness is our states largest industry," Eubanks said, "generates $42 billion dollars a year in economic impact to our state."
 
While mother nature shuffles her cards, McClam says he'll just be ready for whatever she'll deal next.
 
"We're going to try and mitigate our risk and build more greenhouse space to help with that," McClam said.
 

© 2017 WLTX-TV


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