Johnson City

Farmers want break from rain

Farmers want break from rain

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Tenn. - Ducks are swimming in what was supposed to a watermelon patch on the Thompson farm, but this year there's been too much water for melons to grow.

In fact, a lot of things aren't growing according to Loretta Thompson. "Too much rain holds the crops back," she explains.

The StormTrack5 weather team reports June set a record for rainfall and even more rain in the forecast for the first week of July.

Loretta Thompson says there's hardly been a day since May they've not seen at least a little rain on her family farm in Washington County.

She pointed out what should be a flourishing field of tomatoes and green beans, but it's nowhere close.  "Green beans and tomatoes that should be a foot high and staked and tied, but with the rain we can't get in there," described Thompson.

In one field that should be filled with tomatoes nearing harvest, it has been too muddy and workers are now trying to plant the tomatoes by hand instead of with a machine.

The Thompsons sell their produce in this market on their farm, but in many of the fields their plants are far from harvest time. "They just stand there they are so wet their roots don't reach down and their tops don't reach up," says Thompson.

Extension agent Anthony Shelton says many farmers are facing the problem -- it's too wet and almost too late. "Some burley tobacco is still getting planted, normally this time of year we are a month already in the ground," says Shelton.

For the crops that are in the ground, they are not developing strong root system which makes them vulnerable to wind and storm damage.

One area that is doing well this summer is pasture fields. The rain is making the grass grow, which is great for grazing livestock.

Loretta Thompson says they are starting to worry about their hay crop, which they rely on to sell during the winter

Thompson says they're extremely far behind on bailing hay because they can't get enough sunshine mow and bale it.

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