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Tobacco farmers say rain is ruining their crops

STANFORD, Ky. (WKYT) - With tobacco, green is good, yellow is bad.

“It is disheartening really, you put all this work into it, then you come down here and you have nothing,” said farmer Mack Hulett.

Hulett, a full time farmer, planted several thousand acres of tobacco.

"I'm going to say there's probably an 80% loss there anyway,” he said, pointing to his crop planted north of Stanford.

Tobacco like most crops needs water but too much kills the root system.

"It cuts off the oxygen to the soil. The tobacco basically can't breathe, in layman's terms I quess you could say,” he said.

Statewide the situation isn't much better. From Bowling Green on up to Lexington, 50 to 70% of the tobacco crop is lost, according to agricultural officials.

Lincoln County officials say 25% to 30% of their crop is either damaged or destroyed.

Hulett says crop insurance will cover a good chunk of his losses.

"It pays your bills, what you put into it, and then maybe a little bit. Makes you want to stop raising tobacco really,” he said.

Some actually call tobacco a good dry weather crop with an inch of rain followed by a three week dry spell an ideal situation.

"This piece of tobacco last year was great. Down close to the river, we didn't get that much water, we had enough moisture to grow this, it was a really good crop,” Hulett said.

Officials say the situation hurts more than just farmers because each agricultural dollar turns over five to six times in Lincoln County.


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