Excessive Rain Hurts Local Farmers

Tyler Clemons

Rain is ruining Ken Hewlett’s cotton.

His cotton gin, usually humming along by now, sits idle. The recent deluge of rain has pushed production back at least two weeks.

“We’re behind,” Hewlett said. “First of all, the cotton was planted late, and we should be ginning now.”

Farmers across Lafayette County are finding themselves in similar predicaments.

The National Weather Service recorded 5.49 inches of rain fell on the county’s crops in the first half of September alone, nearly double the monthly average.

Over the same period, 19 percent of Mississippi’s soybean crop lost its good-to-excellent condition status, the USDA reports.

Anywhere from 20-75 percent of the cotton crop may be damaged, the Delta Democrat Times reports. Experts say farmers will only know the full extent of the damage when the harvest comes in.

What farmers do know is that the delay is costing them already. As for Hewlett, every day his gin sits idle, his loss increases.

“The grade of the cotton is drastically going to decrease,” he said. “As it rains on it, the sample will come back spotted, light-spotted. That equates into dollars.”

Farmers like Hewlett hope the skies will stop leaking soon and stop the leaking from their wallets.

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~ by tylerclemons on October 16, 2009.

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