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Farmers prepare for Hurricane Michael

Farmers prepare for Hurricane Michael

The storm is expected to make landfall this Wednesday afternoon

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

Producers in parts of Florida and Georgia are preparing as best they can before a major hurricane hits their communities.

Weather forecasters expect Hurricane Michael to make landfall sometime this Wednesday afternoon. The Category 4 storm will bring sustained winds of up to 150 mph (241 km/h) and flooding rains.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal urged citizens to leave their homes.

But for growers who can’t leave, Michael’s arrival will have a significant impact on harvest.

Farmers in Georgia have harvested 25 percent of their peanut crops and 6 percent of their cotton acres, the USDA’s Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin says.

The storm is “hitting us right dead in the heart,” Phil Buckhalter, a peanut and cotton producer from Georgia, told AJC.com yesterday. “It could not have come at no worse a time.”

“There’s not anything you can do,” Roy Goodson, a pecan producer from Georgia, told WALB yesterday. “Just hope for the best and hope that the good Lord shines on you.”

Florida Gov. Rick Scott put out an evacuation notice to state citizens. But several farmers can’t leave and are preparing for the storm’s impact.

“Right now, everyone is trying to make sure fences are strong, generators are working and trying to do whatever they can to withstand the storm,” Alex Johns, president of the Florida Cattlemen’s Association, told Farms.com today. “Cattle producers in the affected areas are trying to move their livestock to higher ground, make sure they have enough feed and are hoping roads will still be travelable.

“Farmers are also communicating with one another to offer help. Once this storm passes, we’ll all be out there helping each other get back on our feet. It’s what farmers do.”

View of Hurricane Michael from space/NOAA photo

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