Jackson County leaders helping farmers through disaster declaration

Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 10:39 PM CST
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JACKSON COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The drought in Jackson County is causing farmers to lose out.

“Well, this growing season has been very unfortunate, and we literally just watched it melt with the excessively high temperatures and lack of rainfall,” said Jeffery Pittman, a farmer in Lovedale.

Pittman said the peanuts and cotton started out really well. But now they face huge yield losses.

“Cotton and peanuts even the irrigated peanuts seemed 10 percent off on historical yields. On dry land in places a 75 percent loss,” said Pittman. “Cotton irrigated seems to be on track, probably a low average, dry land yield seems just like peanuts depending on where the rain fell up to 75 percent off.”

Those low yields mean a low amount of money in a paycheck.

“Peanuts and cotton are harvested one time and year and so the farmer only gets one paycheck a year,” said Pittman.

Having a growing season like this one can really hurt farmers.

“On top of weather events that have hurt yield can create a challenging cash flow on a farm,” said Pittman.

Due to the recent drought that affected Jackson County farmers and caused them to lose some of their crops, they soon may get funding to help recoup their losses.

Jackson County leaders are approving a disaster declaration, which would open up funding opportunities to help.

“The FSA has applied for a disaster for our county. and we’re waiting to hear what’s going to happen,” said Jim Peacock, Jackson County commissioner.

Farmers need the extra help.

“They will qualify for disaster assistance based upon crop production,” said Peacock.

“It would be good because without it’s a tremendous challenge and even with the disaster declaration it is still a tremendous challenge, but anything would help under these circumstances,” said Pittman.

Farmers are hoping they have enough cash flow to make it through the year and into 2024.

County commissioners say they’re now waiting on final approval from the Farm Security Administration. Until then farmers will have to hope their harvest seasons make enough profit.