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Science & Technology

Heavy Rains Threaten NC Crops

A picture of a flooded New Jersey pumpkin patch.
Flooding threatens North Carolina's pumpkin crops, as it did in this New Jersey patch in 2005.

The worst of the stormy weather has passed. But Brian Long of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says the trouble is still ahead for farmers.

"Unfortunately, the impacts are on some of the crops that are major for North Carolina: Peanuts, sweet potatoes, cotton, tobacco, soybeans, in particular. And then you think about farmers, such as pumpkin farmers, that this is the time of year when their crop is in demand, and we're hearing some reports of pumpkins, you know, actually just floating in water in fields."

These wet conditions put crops at risk after nearly two weeks of rain.

"And that amount of water, it hampers the farmers' ability to harvest. And the longer those crops sit in the field, the more susceptible they are to things like disease and mold and rot."

Impacts yield of the crop as well as quality. Long says rather than trying to rescue crops from the water, some farmers will focus on improving field conditions for next year.

The Ag Department is operating a hotline to help farmers recover from flood or wind damage and power outages. The number is 1-866-645-9403.

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