By Erin Smith
Bladen County’s farmers have been busy this week preparing for the wrath of Hurricane Florence. Chris Tatum, with the Bladen County Farm Service Agency, said farmers are extremely busy right now.
“Most of our farmers are going wide open with the State of Emergency in place, harvesting corn and tobacco,” said Tatum.
He said as of Tuesday morning, about 70 percent of Bladen County’s corn crop and about 60 to 65 percent of Bladen County’s tobacco crop have been harvested.
“The farmers are doing everything they can to get the crops out of the fields right now,” said Tatum.
Tatum said the county’s cotton, soybeans, and peanut crops are not yet ready to harvest.
He said, as far as disaster recovery programs for farmers, most of those will not be open until after the storm passes. Tatum said there are some programs available that can help with some cleanup after the storm, but other programs will have to wait until the county’s assessment is complete following the storm.
“We will do an evaluation after the storm and see what we have left in the fields,” said Tatum.
Bladen County Farmer, Dan Ward, said on Tuesday afternoon he has almost completed the harvesting of his corn crop. He expects to have his corn completely harvested by Wednesday evening, weather permitting.
“If we stay clear until Thursday, we’ll be just about complete,” said Ward.
He said his peanut and soybean crops, while not yet ready to be harvested, do need the rain. Ward said the rain will be good news for those crops on his farm.
Ward said the wind will create a little issue for the pods on the soybeans, but otherwise, he said his farm is ready for the storm.
The grape crop is a little late coming in this year, and many grape growers in Bladen County are also working to get their grapes harvested as quickly as possible, added Ward.
Tatum said he is expecting to have a total of any crop damage received as a result of Hurricane Florence, by Wednesday of next week.