Pecan crops in ruin - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Pecan crops in ruin

September 28, 2004

Thomas County - Extension agent Don Clark walks through one of many pecan orchards heavily damaged by Frances and Jeanne. He says, "They're close. If this hurricane would have waited two weeks, the nuts that felt as a result, we would have been able to harvest them."

But now, most of these pecans will rot. "We've suffered a lot of losses in our pecan crop," says Clark, "but we also have a lot of tree damage that will haunt our pecan producers for several years to come."

"A tree like this right here, which is split, we've lost this tree completely and totally forever," says Farmer Tom Stone. "We're going to have to pull it up and put another tree, which we're talking about taking another 15 to 20 years to replace a tree like this."

The devastation caused by back-to-back storms can be seen across pecan orchards like this one. Part of a tree was downed by tropical storm Frances. Right next to it is the rest of the tree. It was downed by tropical storm Jeanne.

And each fallen tree is responsible for thousands of dollars worth of loss. Tom Stone has more than 100 down. "We'll spring back," he says, "but we definitely have to have some help, we cannot do it on our own." He's hoping the government will help provide him with the income that this years lost pecan crop has alluded him.

In addition to the loss of 85% of the Pecan crop, Thomas County has lost about 30% of peanut and cotton crops this season.

posted at 4:36 PM by karen.collier@walb.com