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Farmers Checking for Crop Damage

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BENSON — Friday was a judgement day of sorts for North Carolina farmers. With the worst of the cold temperatures behind them, farmers began assessing just how much the hard freeze is going to cost them.

A Johnston County peach and strawberry farmer said, before a thorough investigation, it appeared his news was both good and bad. A three day spell of temperatures well below freezing ended Thursday night with the coldest night of the three. At this particular farm, the thermometer read 19 degrees at one point during the night.

Farmers tried to ward off damage from the cold by spraying and covering their crops. Because of heavy winds, farmer Keith Hill wasn't able to cover his entire strawberry crop with a protective layer of ice.

Hill says he thinks the coverage did help a great deal, though.

Hill opted not to spray his peach trees this year. He said they wouldn't have been able to hold up under the ice for that long. He's hoping some of the younger blossoms will survive.

Hill says it looks like he will see a good crop of strawberries, with just a 15 percent loss due to the cold. He expects his usual influx of customers will be satisfied a little later in the spring.

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Brian Bowman, Reporter
Brian Bowman, Photographer
MJ Ainsley, Web Editor

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