Farmers brace for Hurricane Irma - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Farmers brace for Hurricane Irma

Rice farmers in Northeast Arkansas worked this weekend to get rice out of the ground before Hurricane Irma moves in. (Source: KAIT) Rice farmers in Northeast Arkansas worked this weekend to get rice out of the ground before Hurricane Irma moves in. (Source: KAIT)
BONO, AR (KAIT) -

Many Region 8 farmers worked quickly this weekend before Hurricane Irma moves in and potentially affects weather here.

Todd Cullen, the owner of Poplar Ridge Farms, said his crew has spent the weekend harvesting corn and irrigating soybeans.

Cullen is harvesting corn early this year because of the potential effects of Irma.

They are irrigating soybeans despite the risk of heavy rain.

He simply has to follow the plan because if heavy rain does not hit, they will have missed the right time for irrigation.

Poplar Ridge Farms also have kept a close eye on its rice fields.  

"I think we should get done tomorrow, you know we've got a hurricane coming in so we're trying to, we've got to keep going,” Cullen said. “The guys have been putting in 12, 14, 16-hour days, trying to get this out ahead of the storm and, but we can only go so fast."

With the forecast constantly changing, it is difficult for a farmer to make a plan of action.

He said rice is his biggest money maker and they are taking action to protect the crop from heavy wind or rain.

The combination of wind and rain could take down the crop in an instant.

Cullen said the rice could not be harvested early this year because of flooding earlier in the summer, and they now simply have to take necessary steps to protect the crop before harvest.

"One thing that I'm doing is we are going to salt all the rice that we possibly can, that way if it does fall down we can get it out a little bit easier, but you can only do so much and at some point, it just comes down to hoping for the best,” he said.

The farmer said the last time a large portion of his rice crop was ruined was in 2010.

Around 80% of the rice was affected by heavy rain and winds. 

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