South Carolina Farms Suffer at Least $300M in Flood Damage

SC Farms Flood Damage PicGood morning, everyone. The flood woes in South Carolina aren’t over yet, the worst being in the middle part of the state, reaching into the northern area of my own county. Over the past weekend, we have had more evacuations, road and bridge closings, and dam breaches. To make matters worse, a line of strong thunderstorms with heavy rain passed through the state on Saturday, which caused the rivers (already over flood stage) to pour more water onto soggy land. Every day, more reports come in regarding the damages from the flooding South Carolina has been experiencing. A few days ago, the damage estimate for agricultural losses was determined.

There is never a good time for torrential rains and flooding, but the worst time of all is at the peak of harvest and planting season. Here in South Carolina, October is both harvest time AND fall planting time. After a brutally hot summer with much of the state suffering a drought, the flood waters washed out ready-to-harvest crops as well as seeds planted for fall crops. That means, farmers have lost not only their current harvest, but also their future fall/winter harvest. By the time the fields are dry enough to replant, there won’t be enough time for the plants to reach partial maturity before first frost. (If you didn’t read my article on the “Persephone Period” and fall planting dates, click here.)

Several crops have been destroyed. Seedlings of kale, broccoli, beets, carrots, and collard greens have been washed away. The final tomato harvest is gone. And soybeans, cotton, and peanuts – all in the beginning of harvest – have been lost.

Only 15% of South Carolina’s peanut crop had been harvested before the flooding rains came. Now, the peanuts are floating in water and mud, growing moldy and rotting – not even fit for animal consumption.

Flooded peanut field in South Carolina

Flooded peanut field in South Carolina

Flooded peanut field in South Carolina

Flooded peanut field in South Carolina

South Carolina grows 5% of the nation’s cotton, and the cotton fields have been ruined.

Flooded cotton fields in South Carolina

Flooded cotton fields in South Carolina

Close to home, a pumpkin farm in Mount Pleasant, SC, was flooded.

Flooded pumpkin farm in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina

Flooded pumpkin farm in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina

Though it’s still too early to tell, our perennial crops may be hurt by the flooding, as well. Pecans, peaches, blueberries, and blackberries can’t breathe in saturated soil. How long the roots lay in soggy soil will dictate crop yields for next season.

Even our poultry farms are hurting. Not only have the flood waters directly impacted these farms, but flooded roads and closed highways have prevented farmers from obtaining much-needed feed for the chickens.

Flooded poultry farm in Clarendon County, South Carolina

Flooded poultry farm in Clarendon County, South Carolina

Overall, the minimum agricultural damage estimate is $300 million. Farmers – and their families – are hurting. Some are resorting to purchasing produce from the upstate of South Carolina (or other areas) and selling that at local farmers markets, just to try to make ends meet. (Crop insurance does not cover the entire loss.)

If you live in South Carolina, please visit your local farmers market on shopping day and purchase your produce and eggs there. They need all the help we can give them.

Even if you live outside South Carolina, you can still help. Your continued prayers are always welcome. 🙂

From the soggy state of South Carolina,

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