On the other side, sunshine awaits

Jul. 03, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

Maybe it’s hard to remember now, but there was a time not so long ago when we were wishing and hoping rain — just a little rain — would come our way. Drought was real and we fretted about our low water table, our withering, browning yards and the farmers whose very livelihoods were drying up along with their crops.

We knew the pendulum would swing back the other way. But having the heavens’ spigots stuck on “open” this spring and early summer has us looking skyward for a bit o’ clear, blue skies — not such a different pose from the days we scanned the horizon in hopes of a rain cloud bearing down on us.

Water tables are now fine. Ground saturation and flooding are now our ongoing concerns. The near-constant presence of rain not only plays havoc for those who enjoy the summertime outdoor activities, but it puts farmers back in difficult straits as their crops become water-logged.

John Gross, owner of Gross Farms, told The Herald that he’d be lucky to harvest half the tobacco crop he got last year; in some parts of his fields, crops are a total loss.

Tommy Dalrymple talked about the 250 acres of wheat he’d been unable to harvest because of wet fields and echoed the sentiment of farmers all over Central Carolina when he said, “We have got work to do in the field, and there’s just no way we can get in there now. ... It’s too soon to tell, but it will hurt all of us in the county.”

Lee County Cooperative Extension Director Susan Condlin pointed out the dilemma farmers face as they survey soggy crops and ponder their next steps: “Some of the machinery and the workers have gotten stuck in the field,” she said. “The workers are coming out of the field muddy. It’s a darned if you do, darned if you don’t.”

Farmers constantly face challenges with the weather, so the age-old problem of either not enough rain or too much rain is not foreign to them. But with the forecast calling for a good chance of rain throughout the remainder of this week, it’s certainly getting tiresome. But they’re farmers, and despite the challenges of Mother Nature, they’ll endure this wet spell.

The rest of us should be grateful for the rain and for what’s certainly to come — sunshine on the other side.