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Monday, January 30, 2012 - 11:14am

Georgia Vegetable Harvest Down

While demand for local produce grows, Georgia farmers are actually harvesting fewer vegetables. That’s according to numbers just released by the United States Department of Agriculture.

Production for some crops like cucumbers fell by as much as 40 percent in 2011. Total acres dropped by 5,000. USDA officials say low prices, limited availability of labor, competition from other crops and bad weather likely led to the decline.

Mitchell County farmer Trey Eubanks says unlike corn, cotton and peanuts, vegetable growers like him don't pre-negotiate with buyers.

“I don’t have any contracts on produce. So, it’s just sold on a spot basis daily when it ripens or matures. And, you just kind of wing it and plant it and hope for the best.”

Eubanks says right now he’s harvesting 150 acres of greens. But he may destroy 20 acres because a flooded market forced prices down.