Dillon County farmer expects to lose nearly half of income due to Florence

Dillon County farmer expects to lose nearly half of income due to Florence

DILLON COUNTY, SC (WIS) - You’ve seen what heavy rain and wind from Florence has done to areas across the state.

Flooding, being the main concern, causing many residents to have to evacuate their homes.

The flooding will have a much more lasting effect on those who will have to rebuild and those whose livelihoods have been destroyed, including farmers.

Daniel Baxley owns a cotton farm with about 1,100 acres of land in Dillon County off Minturn Road.

After days of rain and heavy wind because of Florence, Baxley is facing about a 50 to 60% loss to his business.

Baxley says the area saw anywhere from 12 to 20 inches of rain, and wind gusts up to 70 miles per hour, therefore having a major impact on fragile crops.

“You get this crop all the way to harvest and then something like this comes and happens and you literally see money sitting in the field and the storm comes and two days later you go out and look and you’ve lost half of it,” Baxley said.

Not only is this a problem for farmers, but those he sells his cotton to.

Baxley sells locally to Minturn cotton company, which is a local cotton gin down the street from the farm.

Rich Alford, Minturn Cotton Company Owner said “It’s all intertwined. If they have a bad year I have a bad year right along with them.”

The problem they face is only having one chance per year to grow the crops.

“We start in April to May planting it and then we tend to it spray it and keep it clean and let it grow during the summer and then we’ll harvest it in the beginning of October, November, December, and that’s our only shot at making a crop like this,” Baxley said.

Baxley is facing a big loss for business and will have to wait until next year to grow again.

“When you consider something like that, it’s extremely frustrating,” Baxley said.

Baxley and Alford say they can only hope for recovery.

“I hope that I can just recover from it and go another year and hopefully have a good year next year,” Alford said.

Even with crop insurance, Baxley tells WIS it only covers about 75 to 80 percent of the cost.

Baxley adds it’ll be just enough to get by until next year.

Governor Henry McMaster included statewide agricultural losses – estimated at $125 million – in his request to the state’s congressional delegation for federal aid.

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