Women in Ag: Harvest Before the Hurricane
It doesn’t matter what day of the week it is or what time of day when a hurricane is in the forecast and you have a crop in the field.
We grow flue-cured tobacco, corn, soybeans, and sweet potatoes in eastern North Carolina. Hurricane Matthew is projected to hit North Carolina on Saturday as a category 2 storm, bringing heavy rain and wind. Our part of the state is still drying out after getting anywhere from 8 to 17 inches of rain just two weeks ago. This storm could be devastating for farmers.
We cropped the last of our tobacco this past Friday, but other farmers still have leaf in the field. We have filled our empty barns with our neighbors' tobacco to help them finish.
Like many of our neighbors, we still have corn in the field. A hurricane can lay down a field of corn, making it impossible to pick. Since the first weather forecasts projecting Matthew would hit North Carolina, My Farmer and others have been picking late into the night, trying to get as much picked as possible.
Trucks were still lined up at the mill at 9:30 Saturday night, long after regular hours, waiting to unload. They worked until well after dark on Sunday, Monday, and will continue to do so until the storm hits or the corn is out of the field, whichever is first.
Even after the mill closed last night, they continued to pick, filling up every truck we have. Thankfully, we bought two grain bins this year, which allows us to store part of our crop on the farm, but we don’t have enough on-farm storage to hold our entire crop.
My Farmer left the house first thing this morning to get to the mill early so he wouldn’t have to wait in line to unload. If the lines at the mill are long, trucks have to wait, which means the combine might have to stop. With Matthew looming, we can’t afford to have the combine sitting idle.
Our governor has declared a state of emergency and, based on a recommendation from the Commissioner of Agriculture, temporarily suspended weighing vehicles moving livestock, poultry, or crops ready to be harvested in 66 counties.
If you are in the line of this hurricane, my thoughts are with your farm as you prepare for the storm’s impact. What are you doing to get ready?