Local farmers affected by flooding - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Local farmers affected by flooding

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - Florence farmer Terry Marlowe has more than 25 acres of farm land and lost 95 percent of it just a month before the harvest.

His farm was nothing more than mud with the remnants of what he called his most beautiful crops.  Marlowe had a variety of ten crops, with collard greens being his best seller; he was able salvage none of them. He said he woke up after the floods and saw his entire livelihood under water.

“My heart just fell out of me,” said Marlowe. “I had lost everything I had. I knew I didn’t know what I would do.”

Marlowe said about two feet of water sat over his farm. We could see the pumpkins and squash that were washed away into a nearby canal. His collards and turnip greens were wilted. During the holidays he said his phone rings off the hook from locals wanting his crops. But now he won’t have any to sell or give away.

He said that he lost more than $15,000 from the flood. Money that he survives on. He said he lost everything for this harvest season, and with it being close to the holidays, one of his busiest times of the year. He said he won’t be able to plant more crops until next harvest season, which starts in February. Until then, Marlowe said he doesn’t know what to do to make ends meet. It’s too late for him to go back and start over. And because he won’t make any profit this season, he may not be able to plant next season.

 “This type of stuff is really going to hurt,” said Marlowe. “This is a lot of money involved in this, a lot of time. Money that I borrowed, money that I saved, money that I had put back. It’s gone.”

Marlowe had regular customers and even companies buying his crops in bulk. He said that not only does this affect him, it affects people in the community buying produce. Locals will see prices rise on crops that would've been harvested later this month, like collard greens, the main crop for many farmers in the area.

Samantha Tipton of Waccamaw Market Cooperative, organizes nine farmer's markets in the area. She said she called all the farmers who participate in the farmer's markets and luckily they said they lost little to no crops. All of those farmer’s markets are now back up and running.

In 2007 Marlowe was diagnosed with lymphoma, he was told that he would only have six months to live. From that day he planted mustard seeds and gave the mustard greens away for free, he’s been healthy ever since.

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