To say Frank and Alison Howey have faced a tough growing season this year is a huge understatement. Their row crop operation that extends 75 miles near the North Carolina and South Carolina border experienced extremely dry conditions this summer.
Then in September, Hurricane Florence stormed in.
“There was still corn and early soybeans being harvested,” says Frank, whose farm is headquartered in Monroe, N.C. “We got up to 22 inches out of that storm, which caused a lot of damage to the corn and soybeans that we're ready for harvest. We got 60 mph to 70 mph winds.”
“Florence came and stayed—she just wouldn’t leave,” Alison says.
The Howeys and their team worked around the clock to harvest everything they could before the downpour started. Alison shared these photos and videos in mid-September.
Impact of Hurricane Florence today in the Carolinas. It’s been a long, stressful week on the farm with our equipment running nearly around the clock in a race to get the crops out of the field. Flooding, wind and rain expected to increase here this evening. pic.twitter.com/jtId1SVlWy— alison howey (@alison95915191) September 15, 2018
This has happened in the past hour. Our driveway is now impassable. The soybean field has flooded seventy yards and quickly rising. pic.twitter.com/KMs7YDHMJ6— alison howey (@alison95915191) September 16, 2018
100 acres of corn, too green to harvest before Florence hit, now totally underwater approximately 12 feet deep on Thompson Creek in SC pic.twitter.com/F36MKUta3r— alison howey (@alison95915191) September 16, 2018
Today has been difficult. Our soybeans in the upper left field (by the yellow arrow) are completely submerged and the water is continuing to rise. You can see the tops of trees near the green arrow. Pee Dee River in Cheraw, SC pic.twitter.com/aY9an5alSW— alison howey (@alison95915191) September 17, 2018
Then last week, Hurricane Michael swooped in. When it hit the Howeys farm on Oct. 11, it had been downgraded to a tropical storm.
“We got winds 50 to 60 miles our here and got between six and seven inches of rain on already saturated soils,” Frank says. “We had some flooding from Michael, but it was horrific while we had from Florence.”
Howey and his team are ready to plant winter wheat, but soils remain saturated.
“We’re really behind planting wheat and with soybean harvest,” he says. “We’ve had 30” in the last month and prior to that we had been extremely dry, so we've had a tough growing season.”
The Howeys were named the 2018 Top Producer of the Year winners. You can read more about their farm operation in the December issue of Top Producer magazine.