Days of rain nearly destroys Tift County farmers' crops after hurricane damage

TIfton Cotton Farmer Weather Impact

TIFT COUNTY, GA (WALB) - Farmers in Tift county say not only have they dealt with the effects of Hurricane Michael, but the extra rain and clouds make the cotton conditions worse.

“Whats on the ground from the hurricane, its gone, it’s total loss,” Shane Stone said, a Tift county farmer.

Hurricane Michael put a damper on Stone’s cotton farm. This week’s rain made the already bad conditions, much worse.

“[We] had one of the best crops we’ve ever had here, the potential to make some really good crops to kind of fill the hole that last years hurricane Irma kinda made for us,” said Stone.

Stone’s Farms typically sees anywhere from 12-1300 pounds of cotton. The extra rain in the forecast cut that number to less than half.

“Now we’re down to anywhere from 300 pounds to 500 pounds and the rest of it was on the ground,” said Stone.

With two hurricanes back to back, Stone is still trying to catch up from 2017.

“We’re not even finished with this year,” said Stone. “We’re still getting cotton out and in a lot of cases, peanuts out, & from all the rain we can’t get in there to get the machinery to get it out. Cotton needs to be dry," added Stone.

With pounds of cotton lost, Stone says he’s losing ground from sprouted cotton seeds.

“Your seed that you get out of the lint usually goes toward ginning cost and so you’re not getting anything for your ginning. It usually pays for the ginning in a lot of cases,” said Stone.

No cotton seeds to sell to gins means there's not much left for farmers to work with.

“If they don’t help us out with what our losses were, we’re not gonna be able to, a lot of us is not gonna be able to go again,” said Stone.

Now that legislation has approved funds for farmers, the only thing left to do is wait.

“I’m sure it has to be spread out, I don’t know how it’s gonna be allocated. But certainly anything would help and i just hope it comes soon,” said Stone.

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