Flooding delays harvest, ruins crops for Horry County farmers - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Flooding delays harvest, ruins crops for Horry County farmers

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Horry County farmers lost at least $9 million in crops as a result of October's severe rain and flooding, according to William Hardee, an agronomist with Clemson Cooperative Extension. That's only the low estimate based on the damage assessment forms his office has so far.

"My daddy is 85 years old. He was out here the other day and he said, 'I'm 85 years. I haven't ever seen anything like this in my life,'" said Ronald Rabon, owner of Double R Farms. "He said he's never seen that much water in that short a period of time."

Hardee said every kind of crop was damaged in the flooding, except for tobacco and corn, but those suffered during the drought this summer.

Soybeans, cotton and peanuts were the hardest hit.

Rabon grows two of those crops, but he's especially concerned about his cotton.

"They were rotten, so what we get isn't any good," he said. "The price of it has gone to nothing."

Due to the low quality, Hardee said cotton took a 40 percent price cut. 

"You'll get 40, 50 cents at the most," Rabon said. "You can't survive on that. It won't pay the bills."

However, Rabon's cotton picker has been sitting next to a field for a month because that field is still too wet and soggy to pick most of the cotton.

The water also delayed sweet potato harvesting at Dixon Farms.

"It caused us not to get in the field and get the potatoes," said Warren Dixon, the farm's owner. "Potatoes won't stand but so much water, so it was just devastating."

Even though Governor Nikki Haley requested USDA expedite crop insurance payments, both Dixon and Rabon said crop insurance barely helps.

"Crop insurance will not cover the input we got in this crop and we need some help," Dixon said. "And we don't need small interest loans. We need some grants."

Farmers can still fill out damage assessment forms at the Clemson Cooperative Extension office in Horry County. The phone number is 843-365-6715.

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