Flooding in Aynor could cost farmers their crops

AYNOR, SC (WMBF) – Bradley Hardwick doesn't say much when you meet him because right now, time is precious.

"You only have so much time to get the tobacco out of the field in August or everything else starts going bad," he said.

Hardwick is racing against the clock because what started out as a great year for his tobacco crop, flipped upside down due to recent rainfall and flooding. He says depending on the weather, he could only have a couple more weeks to turn it around.

"Four, five, six inches, then 10 inches of rain later, it's knocking us back pretty good now," explained Hardwick. 

The flood didn't ruin his crops, but it did turn his 15 acres into mud. Instead of using his machines, he and his crew must hand crop until the fields dry out. 

"We don't have the people to do [hand crop]," Hardwick sighed. "We're set up for mechanical harvest."

This season is especially important for Hardwick because the last four or five years were disappointments. He says as a farmer he gambles with Mother Nature every day,and for a while now she's been winning.

"You've got to have a good one, now and then, to make up for a bad one," he said.

Hardwick says it's a fight his father and grandfather fought too, but right now he's hesitant to continue.

"I don't know how much longer we can fight," said Hardwick. 

He says he may lose a percentage of his crop this year because of the recent rain, but that's what comes with the job. Other farmers in the area could lose close to 75 percent of their crops, so you won't hear Hardwick complaining too much.

"There's something good out of everything," chuckled Hardwick. "Even how bad it is, it could always be worse."

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