Hot, Dry Weather Affecting Farmers, Produce Prices

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The hot, dry weather we've experience lately is really affecting local farmers. It's causing crops to die and others to slow in production.

One of the farmers feeling the effects is James Kenan. He's a farmer who owns and operates Bernie's Berries in Greensboro.

He's constantly watering his tomato, watermelon and cucumber crops, but there's nothing he can do to stop his plants from dying in the heat.

"Above 90 degrees, these blooms will abort," said Kenan. "They'll just die and fall off."

Kenan is already seeing that happen with some of his tomato plants. "Instead of going into a mode to produce fruit and vegetables, they go into a survival mode just trying to stay alive."

If crops continue to die, there will be a smaller supply available for purchase. "When there is limited amounts of produce, what is there becomes more expensive and that will not only happen at farmer's markets, but will also see that crunch at grocery stores," added John Ivey, a crop science agent with Guilford County Extension.

Experts say it could be a matter of weeks before that happens, if mother nature doesn't cooperate.

Kenan said he needs a good drenching for several days in a row to help reverse some of the effects of the recent weeks.


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