National drought a double-edged sword for NC farmers

PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The drought across much of the country is threatening to drive up the price of a lot of the food we eat.

Here in the Cape Fear it’s a double-edged sword for corn farmers.Demand is high for their product, but the heat is taking a toll on the crop as well. North Carolina farmers that specialize in corn say they’re only expecting half of their normal crop.

“The temperature has been so hot that it killed the pollen, therefore the ears didn’t get pollinate, so the amount of grains on an ear may be a half an ear, or sometimes none,” farmer Dave Howard said.

Howard, 88, has lived on a farm his whole life. In his 50 plus years in Burgaw he’s seen the highs and the lows of the corn business.

Howard says in 2010 his 200 acres of corn produced more than 10,000 bushels of corn. Last year that number fell to 1,200.

“This year I would guess that he might make 50 bushels to the acre at the most,” Howard said.

Produce stores say because of the lack of supply, the demand for corn and prices are on the rise.

“Traditionally, about this time of the year, we should be buying corn anywhere from $8 to $10 a bushel. That’s a wholesale price on a case of corn,” Carolina Farmin’ General Manager Ben Long said. “With the drought its unfortunately impacted to where we’ve been able to get down to $13 to $14.”

The North Carolina Cooperative Extension says the drought in the heartland is not necessarily a good thing for Tar Heel State farmers. Many farmers in North Carolina specialize in livestock, and have to feed them with now higher-priced corn.

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