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Dry Weather Concludes Near-Perfect Growing Season

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DUNN — The dry weather is a drag for many people, but for farmers, it is the perfect end to a near-perfect growing season.

This year's cotton harvest is so good, it is encouraging farmer Brandon Turlington to stick with a family tradition and lifelong dream.

"It's always been my dream to farm and to carry on my family farm with my dad and uncle," he says. "My grandpa passed it down to them, and that's what I want to do -- to keep the tradition alive."

Damp weather prevents farmers from getting into the fields to harvest. If left too long, the cotton can get too wet and rot. That is not the case this year, where the dry spell has been perfectly timed.

Other crops are also benefiting from the ideal conditions. Soybeans have done very well this year.

"It's been a very good soybean season," says extension agent Don Nicholson. "We had kind of a dry start, and we had a little trouble getting some stands, but the rains came at the right time. We had good growth on them."

The past three years have been tough on tobacco, but the 2000 season was a great year for one of North Carolina's biggest cash crops.

"All the growing season, as far as tobacco is concerned, was fantastic," says tobacco grower Pender Sharp. "Temperatures were great, moisture levels were great, we had adequate rainfall and we grew probably one of the best crops of tobacco that's ever been grown."

Tobacco would have made more money if farmers were allowed to grow more, but the weather was on their side this year. After the battles of recent years, growers are happy to get the help.

Tobacco also brought good money this season, although soybeans are not doing as well. In spite of the good crop, soybean prices are down.


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