Farmers Try to Save Crops

By: Tametria Conner Email
By: Tametria Conner Email

A possible overnight freeze has some local farmers concerned their crops could die and they could lose money.

In the middle of April, almost a month into spring, local farmers are preparing for the possibility of an overnight freeze.

Randy Mathis, co-owner of Mathis Farms and Produce in Clarke County said he hopes temperatures won't drop below freezing.

Mathis already experienced some damage a few weeks ago and now he's having to prepare again. Workers gathered as many ripe strawberries as they could Monday and covered the remaining crop.

Mathis said the strawberries should be fine with the covering, but his biggest concern is the peaches, because he doesn't know how they will brave the weather.

"Because we've already had some damage on some peaches earlier this year, maybe about 3 weeks ago, when it dipped down to about 27 one night," said Mathis. "And the ones that were in the bloom were fine, but the ones that were already out of the bloom, it killed most of them."

The National Weather Service has put almost all of the WTOK-TV viewing area under a freeze warning.

Sub-freezing temperatures mean that crops that are in a very delicate stage right now could be killed. Mathis said he hopes covering the plants will protect them. But he's still concerned.

"We're probably looking at about a 50 or 60 percent crop right now and then after tonight it could be worse than that," Mathis said.

Mathis said trying to survive the cold temperatures is nothing new to farmers, as every year they have to be prepared. But he looks forward to business as usual Tuesday.

"Here, if it doesn't get any colder than 29, 30 degrees, we will be able to come out here tomorrow morning and uncover these berries and be back to business as usual," Mathis said.

Mathis says if you see a hike in price or fruit becomes scarce, you can attribute that to the freeze.

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