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Monday, July 22, 2013 - 1:11am

Ga. Farmers Endure Drought Then Deluge

Updated: 1 year ago.
Julia Asherman of the Rag & Frass Farm in Jeffersonville, Ga. spritzes vegetables at the Mulberry Street Farmers Market in downtown Macon. (Photo: Adam Ragusea / GPB News)

Fresh off the worst drought in Georgia history, farmers are now dealing with the opposite problem. June was the wettest on record in Macon, where farmers at a recent Mulberry Street Farmers Market were split over which is worse: wet or dry?

"We are just swamped at the farm, we’ve got...we’ve got mud," said Michael McArthur with Local Lands farm in Wrightsville. "I actually lost some product, some kale."

Farmers like McArthur and Matt DeMatteo with East Georgia Produce in Bartow tried put on a happy face for their customers, but were clearly feeling a little beleaguered.

“We can’t control the rain," DeMatteo said. "As much as we’ve got, it’s flooded a lot of stuff out. But when it’s dry, you know, at least we can irrigate."

Debbie Waugh with Salamander Springs farm in Milledgeville said she prefers this year, even though the rain has cost her product as well. "A lot of things have rotted, watermelon is rotting, and bell peppers, things of that nature," she said. "But still, no rain, no life."

She’s going to get a lot more of it. Forecasters predict a chance of showers or thunderstorms every day this week across the state.

Julia Asherman with the Rag & Frass Farm in Jeffersonville said she also prefers rain to the alternative. "A lot of water is difficult to deal with too, but the soil is happier, the worms come to the surface," she said. "The soil is loose, it’s not dry and compact."

One thing everyone at the market agreed on is there are a lot more weeds this year, including grass. That’s been boon for Rocking Chair Ranch in Forsyth, said cattleman Joseph Egloff. "I raise grass-fed beef," he said with a smile.