Local growers weigh the affects of rising water

By Amanda Hanson - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)- Farmers have been struggling with the rising waters. Saturday local growers set up shop for the grand opening of the Arkansas State University Regional Farmers Market. A lot of people came out Saturday morning to eye the produce and plants from local vendors. While many growers felt the affects of the flood waters, they are holding their heads up high, and hoping for the best.

"Agriculture is one of our biggest industries. It's going to hurt," said Cooperative Extension Agent of Agriculture Eric Grant.

And many of the local vendors at the ASU Regional Farmers Market have already felt the pain. "Two days before it started raining I planted all the stuff, and then two days after the rain were spent pulling it up out of the ground," said Heath Jackson from Payneway, AR. He says flood water left nearly a foot of water covering his garden.

"I spent two days pumping the water off, and had to pull up 42 heirloom tomatoes, and lost 10 zucchini, about 18 squash, and probably 10 cucumbers," said Jackson.

And even though the water is pumped off his garden, it's still too muddy to do much. "I'm waiting another couple of weeks before I can replant. I just roll with the punches. That's kind of what you need to do to make it," said Jackson.

But some local growers were hit harder than others. George Howard just started farming this year. While he says much of his produce wasn't heavily affected, he did have a few rough patches.

"It don't matter what kind of soil you have it's going to affect you somehow. We had one plot where half of it was under water for a while. Some of the plants made it but a lot of them didn't," said Howard.

And says many of his potatoes have rotted underground from too much rain. Howard says while business was booming Saturday morning, he's not taking the credit.

"We don't count on it for ourselves. We pray to God to give us what we did. Like last year, we had the drought. We live on clay soil, and when it did rain it held the moisture and everything grew," said Howard.

Many of the local vendors as the farmers market Saturday say as far as the long term affects of the flooding, only time will tell.

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