Farmers deal with more weather extremes as summer gives way to fall


BOLIVIA, NC (WWAY) — The weather plays a huge role in agriculture around the state, but especially along the coast, where extremes are all too common. Because of that, a local farmer says this past season was one of the worst they have seen, and all this rain is having a different an impact on planting fall crops.

“We had some issues with a very cold winter,” said Greenlands Farm’s Heather Burkert.

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It was one for the record book. This year we saw the sixth coldest February ever, but that was not the last extreme Greenlands Farm in Bolivia would face.

“Tropical Storm Ana, we had all the rain and then the heat immediately after,” Burkert said.

Bolivia picked up more than five inches of rain from Ana in May before June cranked out extreme heat to make it the third warmest in history.

“We had a lot of people disappointed, because they were looking for cucumbers, tomatoes, the standards summer go-tos that everyone waits for, and corn,” Burkert said. “Corn was a total crop loss in this whole county from what I have heard from all the other growers, other farmers, so we had a very small window and a very low yield for what we did get, so therefore there wasn’t a lot of produce to go around.”

Recent weather has not been any help either heading into fall. Because of all the rain, Greenlands Farm will have to wait to plant its fall lettuce crop until it all dries up.

“The seed would just wash away,” Burkert said.

There are a few crops that have been able to withstand Mother Nature’s strength.

“Peppers, eggplant. We also have a good crop of yellow squash that is behind us, crookneck, that is doing really well,” Burkert said.

Along with one vegetable that is a must for the upcoming holidays.

“We are looking to probably harvest 2,000 pounds of sweet potatoes,” Burkert said.

But Burkert says if she’s learned anything from the past it is to roll with the punches.

“We are at the mercy of the weather,” she laughed.