Fall Harvest Starts for Many Region 8 Farmers

SEPTEMBER 7, 2006 -- POSTED AT 9:30 P.M. CDT

CRAIGHEAD COUNTY, AR -- Many Region 8 farmers have already started harvesting their fall crops. Clark and Sons in Otwell farm nearly 2400 acres of rice and soybeans and have already begun harvesting their rice fields.

"We started a little over a week ago and it's going pretty well. We've had some good days cutting the last few days with the sunshine and harvest is going pretty well," says Jerry Don Clark, a local farmer.

The weather usually makes all the difference when it comes to having a good season. Clark said the current weather we've been having is perfect for a farmer's harvest.

"To low 80's and humidity down in the 50 percent range or below would be ideal conditions," says Clark.

Most farmers we spoke with did say however that high fuel costs continue to hurt the farmer's budget.

"We're cutting some pretty good rice right now. I think our returns and yields are going to be about the same as last year, what's really hurt us is our cost of production," says Clark.

Overall, Clark said he felt his harvest is headed in the right direction. Rice farmers aren't the only ones optimistic about this harvest season. Cotton producers seem to have a good outlook as well.

"We're very fortunate in this area here the farmers have received a lot of rain, they have excellent crops. Provided we don't have weather situations that create harvest problems, to cover any input costs," says Larry Teague, the Black Oak Cotton Gin Manager.

Basically it boils down to the weather; otherwise they seem optimistic all around.

"I think we'll be up substantially over where we were last year and we had a near record year last year. So, yes I think we're on target provided everything turns out fine to have a great season," says Teague.

Rice and Cotton Farmers should finish harvesting their crop within the next 4 to 5 weeks.