Rains cause delays for farmers

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Across the state of Alabama, people are once again working to recover from a barrage of storm activity that spawned tornadoes and dumped more than a foot of water in some areas.

The wet weather has proven to be especially troublesome for Alabama’s farmers.

Russell Wiggins, an Andalusia farmer and president of the Covington County Farmers Federation, said many in the county are two-to-three weeks behind schedule, but are still relatively lucky.

“We were fortunate,” Wiggins said of county farmers. “We missed a lot of the real bad weather.”

Even without some of the heavier rains other areas received, Wiggins said local farmers are seeing the effects of the weather in the form of costly delays.

“There have been some delays, and we are having to pick our spots where we can work right now by where we can get,” he said. “We’ve definitely got more water than we are used to this time of year.”

Wiggins also said farmers as close as Opp are dealing with significantly wetter fields than in Andalusia.

“We got about 2.5 inches of rain here,” he said. “They got a lot more just to the south and east of us. I have some friends in Opp that got as much as 6 or 7 inches.”

Wiggins, whose family plants predominantly peanuts and cotton, said he is hoping the recent dry weather will last long enough to rid local fields of any standing water left over by the storms.

“Some people are still dealing with the standing water and have to address that,” he said. “Yes, we’re delayed; yes it’s a problem, but I think if the good weather holds out we may be able to make up the time in about a week or two. Two weeks can make a lot of difference.”

Throughout the month of April, 15.88 inches of rain fell in Covington County, 12 inches more than the same time period last year, according to the Choctawhatchee Pea and Yellow Rivers Watershed Management Authority. Year to date, the authority has recorded 31.24 inches of rain at Yellow River, up from 21.68 through the same time period in 2013.