T.S. Cindy's heavy rains are raising concern for local farmers

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HOUSTON COUNTY, Ala. (WTVY) — Tropical Storm Cindy was a deadly and destructive storm, but it is the long term affects from the significant rainfall some Wiregrass farmers are concerned about.

In fact, Governor Kay Ivey has asked for a disaster declaration from the U-S Department of Agriculture requesting urgent assistance for farmers.

Cindy spawned tornadoes in Alabama and a lot of rain.
Normally rain is a good thing but when you get too much it can cause long-term issues.
Crops are where they should be for this time of year but heavy rains last week may shorten the season.

David Bell, Farmer at Bell Farms says:
“It’s bad enough the way it is, you know all of the vegetables and produce are making right now and are trying to ripen up and with just that continued water that we kept getting from the rain it just sucks that water right up and it causes it to bust.”

Bell says he lost 30-40% of his tomato and watermelon crops, about a ten-thousand dollar loss. Crews worked last week to salvage the crops that ripened early.
Bell says:
“Probably what takes the most right now with the heavy rain is your vegetable crop.”

Tropical troubles brought the Wiregrass 2 to 6 inches of rain with heavier amounts to our west. The Wiregrass Extension Office monitors area farms and says it could have been worse.

Kris Balkcom who is a Research Associate with the Extension Office says:
“You know it was spaced out, you know we didn’t get those really big rains generally 3-4 inches in one time…they were spaced out, more gradual over a few days.”

Not only is there an economic loss, but any tropical weather that we get in the future can cause disease to the crop…
Balkcom says:
“Any rain like that, hot, humidity increasing is just going to be prone for more disease… it’s going to cause them to get out there and use some really expensive materials try to get that protection on them to control it.”

Moving forward, farmers are using this sunny forecast to work from sun up to sun down to salvage the summer crops.
Farmers also say that continued rains could hurt the peanut and cotton crop down the road because they do best in dry weather.

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