Local News

Drought Continues To Dry Up N.C.'s Farming Economy

Posted October 9, 2002

— With the budget already in a pinch, the drought is drying up the farming economy that officials claim normally contributes $46 billion a year to the state.

Bill Freeman's work and life run together. He said farming is in his blood.

"My father was a farmer since he started work, raised on a farm, his father's farm, and he's been farming all his life till he retired... I've been here all my life," he said.

However, Freeman said he cannot remember a year as bad as this one.

"Usually if you have a year, you might have one crop that's bad or weak or something, but this year, everything's been off," he said.

According to the latest report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 60 percent of the state's soybean crop rates from fair to very poor while 74 percent of pasture land, 80 percent of corn and 83 percent of cotton rates fair to very poor.

Charlie Tyson, a county extension agent, said he can see the economic impact the drought has had on farmers.

"What I've seen is the frustration in their faces and the anxiety in their faces," he said.

Many farmers have crop insurance that will help them cover their lost expenses, but they said it will not help them as they get ready to spend on the next planting.

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