Gold leaf drinks up Alberto rain - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Gold leaf drinks up Alberto rain

 June 13, 2006

Coffee County -- May 15th. That's the last time Coffee County received any rainfall... until today.

Around midnight a light rain began falling on the county and continued throughout the day. Farmers say it's a godsend.  

Coffee County is the largest producer of tobacco in the state, but to remain that way, the crops need one main ingredient, and that's rain. "It's been terrible," says farmer Nathan Henderson.

He's been farming for about 30 years. Henderson says he's used his irrigation system almost non-stop in the near month it's been since the last rainfall. Without it, he says, "We'd probably be looking for another job."

But even with the pivot system, he can only irrigate about 40% of his crops, so he is dependent on mother nature to provide the rest. He says, "We had to have it to survive. Especially on corn at this point. We were probably seven days from disaster."

A disaster that would have affected Henderson as well as every other farmer in the county. "Anytime you get a rain, it improves the disposition of farmers a tremendous amount. They're very worried with all the drought we've been in," says County extension agent Eddie McGriff, who hopes all the worrying will end along with the drought.

He says it's, "hard to replace what you get from the lord. This rain coming through is really going to be a godsend." One he hopes will continue to fall from the heavens.

Eddie McGriff says only about 40% of all crops in the county are irrigated and even those crops were in trouble because farmers had begun to ration out water from the ponds they irrigated from.

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