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Freezing temperatures are devastating for Moore County fruit farmers

Posted March 14

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— While freezing temperatures in March are disappointing for many, for local summer fruit farmers, it can be a financial nightmare. Early blooms now need protection from a stretch of late season cold.

Will Williams is a third generation peach farmer. His family has just over 50 acres of peaches in Moore County. The race is on to protect as many of them as possible from the cold.

'It's looking ok right now," Williams said. 'But we've got three more cold night coming up."

They've recently installed a giant wind machine. It's one of several designed to push the somewhat warmer air aloft down to the plants on cold nights.

"You turn on your wind machine if it gets really still, like less than five miles an hour," Williams said. "If the wind stops blowing, that's when they get killed."

Down the road at Billy Carter's farm, the team is pulling cloth over about three acres of strawberries.

The berries aren't supposed to be showing themselves yet, but the farmer couldn't stop them from popping out too soon.

"All farming is done by the calendar," said strawberry farmer Bryan Jones. "When that certain date hits, you have to be in the field. You have to be doing certain things. We're just following the calendar. Mother Nature doesn't always play along."

Williams said a warmer than usual January and February can be a farmer's worst nightmare.

"You're nervous all of March about it getting too cold, and you know it's going to get cold," Williams said.

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