Heavy rains causing problems for farmers

By: Hope Jensen Email
By: Hope Jensen Email

News 12 at 11 o'clock / Tuesday, July 2, 2013

EVANS, Ga. (WRDW) -- Rain or shine, Matt Dematteo brings his vegetables to the farmers market, but lately, there's been a lot more rain than shine.

"Biggest satisfaction is putting a seed in the ground and seeing what it turns into," said Dematteo, who owns East Georgia Produce.

This year, he's not bringing as much as normal.

"We canceled almost half our orders this week just on rain, and over the last few weeks, in general, really," he said.

Heavy rains pouring for weeks across the area are causing problems for farmers all over the state.

"Melons are popping in the field from getting ripe too fast and getting too much water and the same with tomatoes," he explained.

He says not only are they losing crops from too much rain, but they aren't able to get equipment into the field to plant more.

"Me, as well as all the other small farms, are hurting because we're experiencing probably 40 percent crop loss this year with this rain," Dematteo said.

"Usually, we're praying for rain. Not praying for it to stop raining," added Sandi Johnson with Hexemaus Farms in Waynesboro. "I've never lost crops from too much rain. This is the first time ever."

She says they've lost 50 percent of their zucchini crop and are looking at losing about 20 to 30 percent of their beans. They've also lost tomatoes and say they still haven't finished assessing the damage.

"Fifty percent of our crop, that's half a year's income," she explained. "We don't have anything to fall back on. If we lose 50 percent of our crop, we lose 50 percent of our income."

It's not just affecting today's crops, it's affecting future crops as well.

"July and August, you're also planting for fall crops, and if it's too wet, you can't plant," she said.

The farmers say it's actually easier to farm in a drought because they can put water on the crops, but there's nothing they can really do to stop too much water.

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