Rain a joy for farmers, also a hindrance to getting started

A tractor sitting in a Bulloch County field.
A tractor sitting in a Bulloch County field.(WTOC)
Updated: Mar. 9, 2020 at 5:59 PM EDT
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BULLOCH COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - This time of year, farmers hope and pray for more rain to get peanuts and other crops into the ground. This year, it’s almost too much of a good thing as farmers need fields to dry out a little to get started.

Patience can sometimes be the toughest part of the job for farmers like Wade McElveen. They've seen heavy rains this winter. Now he's waiting for giant puddles like these to soak into the ground.

He's constantly adjusting his calendars for planting on when the rains stop.

“We're not overly concerned, but we are concerned about getting things done,” McElveen said. “Yeah, and pretty soon we'll go to {Plan} C and maybe D.”

Ideally, he'd like to soon start spreading chicken litter and lime in the fields. But going out there in a large tractor would get it bogged up to the axles.

He and others take this rain surplus with a grain of salt because they know how fast it can evaporate as days get warmer in the spring and summer.

“The old saying around here is ‘you're never more than three weeks away from drought no matter how wet you are when it stops raining,’” McElveen said.

He and his son grow peanuts and cotton. He says they constantly navigate the challenge of managing market prices and input costs. But he's glad he does.

“Peanuts are just a great food product, a great crop. They're good for the farmer, good for the consumer,” McElveen said. “There's just nothing prettier than a good peanut crop when you turn them over and they're just white with peanuts.”

That passion and commitment is just part of what makes Wade McElveen proud to be a farmer.

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