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Rough Rains May Rejuvenate the Golden Leaf

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This Johnston Co. tobacco field may be salvaged
WILLOW SPRINGS — Many tobacco barns lost power as the remnants of Hurricane Danny madetheir way across the Carolinas. Thousands of dollars in golden leaf maybe ruined. In the fields, high winds left many young plants leaning orflat on the ground. But ironically, it's possible the storm did more goodthan harm in our area.

Larry Barbour has planted one tobacco field twice already. Now, he's gotto stand his plants back up, all 140 acres of them, after high winds fromthe remnants of Hurricane Danny blew them over.

Barbour admits it's hard work, aggravating work. Nobody loves to do it.But all he can do is try to stand them up. The plants will never be thesame as they were before the storm. They'll lean one way or another.

Machines will have a tough time harvesting this crop and may force Barbourto hire expensive help to bring in the leaf by hand.

Along with the wind, Danny also brought rain-- rain that caused floodingin some parts of the state, but rain that will likely save the crop inBarbour's field.

Barbour's son, James, is thankful for the rain. He says you can't makethe crop without a rain. The plants are a long ways away from being afull crop, but that rain will make it.

The lack of rain in the past month had farmers worried their crops woulddry up in the field. Danny's arrival has been a mixed blessing.

Hurricane Bertha brought a crop-saving rain last year, but all the goodwas undone when Fran blew through. If history doesn't repeat itself, theBarbours are looking forward to a bountiful harvest. They feel their cropwill survive with a lot of tender loving care.

All Tar Heel crops should benefit from the moisture, not just tobacco.But the wind damage done to corn may be irreversible. Farmers say leaningstalks are okay, but if it's flat on the ground, it can't be harvested.

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