Local News

Rain, Hail Take Toll On Harnett Tobacco Fields

Posted May 27, 2003

— Some farmers took a major hit after an intense storm hit Harnett County Sunday.

The fierce storm left tobacco plants in shreds and cut gullies across fields.

"We probably had 4 inches of rain in a matter of 30 minutes, not counting the amount of hail that we had in that same amount of time. It was just devastating," farmer Wayne Farrar said.

Farrar, who farms outside of Lillington, said he set his tobacco plants just a few weeks ago.

"I grew up on a tobacco farm, have farmed tobacco all my life, and have just never had an experience like this. We've had hail at different times of the year, but it's always been later in the crop," he said.

The storm was localized and intense. Crops were killed and fields were damaged. The rain came down so hard, it washed the tobacco plants out of the ground.

"The first thing we're going have to do is wait for the rain to subside, wait for the fields to dry out, because we can't even stand up out here," farmer James Stancil said.

The storm pelted Stancil's tobacco and wheat crops.

"It's probably 10 days away from harvest and half of it is beat out of the ground where the heads were dry. It just beat it out, like thrashing it," he said.

Both farmers said it will be a very long and expensive season trying to recover from 30 minutes of intense weather. They do not know if insurance will cover their tobacco losses. There is no coverage for damage to the farmland washed away.

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