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Tobacco Growers Face New Foe: Mother Nature

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CARTHAGE — A lack of rain combined with the recent high temperatures is hurting tobacco growers in Moore County.

Irrigation systems are working overtime to keep the tobacco crop from drying up. Farmers say they cannot seem to catch a break.

Sherril Mathews' farm is the area hardest hit by the dry weather. His bad luck started in the spring.

"Actually there were spots down in this field that I left out because it was too wet to put the tobacco in there, and now it hasn't rained since we went from one extreme to another," Mathews said.

Mathews has been irrigating his crops all along, but it has not been enough.

"The lack of water supplies is one of the main problems we're facing," Mathews said. "Even though we are not getting any rain, we don't have any in the irrigation ponds to pump out."

Fortunately the rest of Moore County is not taking as much of a beating.

"Overall, we still have a good crop of tobacco, and the potential for an excellent crop is there," Extension Director Charles Hammond said. "We just need some rain in the next couple of weeks."

Most crops are good and irrigation ponds are holding up. However, if the county does not get some rain in the next few weeks, the situation will become critical.