Farmers in WNC fear floods have destroyed their crops


FLAT ROCK, NC (WSPA) – The water has started to recede after flooding at Johnson Family Farms in Flat Rock but the owners fear their crops are ruined.

The owners say the Henderson County Agriculture Extension Office will assess the crops next week.

However, if any of the harvest is salvageable there’s a risk the flood water contaminated the crops and if the crops are ruined that means prices will rise on fruits and vegetables.

“I mean it’s hard because that was our first crop, our first planting of it,” said owner Kelli Campbell. “Now we usually do more planting’s so that we can make profit later. But this first crop was kind of ruin.”

The first round of heavy rains caused Johnson Family Farms to take loses on the onion harvest. Then subtropical storm Albert hit, potentially drowning the remaining fruits and vegetables in nearly 3 feet of water.

Campbell says now it’s a waiting game for the Ag Office to test the crops and determine if they are contaminated.

“There was no fruit on the plants so that’s a good sign for us, but still she’ll come out and tell us if we need to go ahead and rip it all up.” Campbell said. “We’re looking at most likely the majority we will have to take up except for the flowers that we have.”

The loss of harvest means frequent shoppers are going to see a rise in prices, since Johnson Family Farms will have to purchase goods, rather than growing them for now.

The family-owned farm stand has another harvest on Mills River they are hoping wasn’t affected.

Which is very likely according to the owner of Sky Top Orchard.

“We fared lot better than the lower elevations where the valley where the water collects as far as producing crops,” says Sky Top owner David Butler.

Butler says the water didn’t collect in the orchard, but it is still preventing him from accessing it and that’s delaying much-needed harvest preparations.

“Spray and cut and hand thin the apples,” Butler says.

The Henderson County Agriculture Office tells 7News they are estimating more than a million dollars in loss of crops, but that number could grow as they continue their damage assessments.

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