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Rain Falls At Right Time for Tobacco Farmers

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WILSON — Parched tobacco plants are drinking up the rain that has been falling the last few days, and farmers say it came just in time.

When you are growing a crop like tobacco, timing is everything.

Tobacco farmers say the recent rainfall has come at the perfect time for North Carolina's most important crop.

"We've developed a tremendous root system on this crop, and now this slow, beautiful rainfall that we've been having is going to make one of the best tobacco crops we've had in years," said farmer Pender Sharp.

Corn and some other vegetable crops were hurt by the dry weather; as a result, many farmers will lose money on those fields.

Tobacco is doing fine because its root system needs dry conditions early in the season.

Now that harvest is just a few days away, the cool rainfall will make the plants peak at just the right time.

"With this shower of rain, the crops will fill out," said Norman Harrell, Wilson County extension agent.

The past few years have been tough for farmers who have battled everything from droughts to hurricanes. No one can predict what will happen for the rest of this season, but farmers will enjoy the conditions while they can.

"This rain has touched areas in our community that haven't had a lot of rainfall. It's just been a money maker," said Sharp.

By far, tobacco is the biggest money maker on North Carolina farms. In 1998, tobacco took in about $1 billion.

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Brian Bowman, Reporter
Brian Bowman, Photographer
John Clark, Web Editor

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