Cold snap hurting crops, farmers watch temperatures, prices

By Sunni Blevins - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The recent big chill is causing some farmers to feel the pinch -- which means our wallets will feel it soon too.

All across the country prices are rising, especially for items like produce and orange juice.

Farmers south of Virginia in Florida are nervous as the cold weather threatens their crop production.

"Every farmer's got that fear right now," said farmer George Suarez. "I think in the last two weeks I've aged probably 10 years. "

Citrus fruit is freezing causing a price hike in many places for orange juice and other products.

"A lot of crops come from Florida, not only oranges, but tomatoes and strawberries and all of those, so it's something to keep an eye on and we need to watch it as we go forward," said David Coleman, Virginia Farm Bureau's Grain Marketing Manager.

The good news is it's not all bad news.  Some Virginia farmers have actually welcomed this cold snap after dealing with an unusually wet fall.

"For some farmers it has helped," Coleman said. "Soybean farmers, we had a wet fall, and they couldn't get the soybeans harvested, so as the ground has frozen, it's allowed to go in there and harvest the soybeans that they couldn't get beforehand."

And that's going to help them save crops, and ultimately help their bottom line since soybeans are usually harvested in October.

David says, "If they weren't able to get the crop out of the field,and the longer the crop stays in the field, the more potential loss that they have."

Right now, winter wheat is in the ground around here, and farmers are hoping for the best.

"A little cold snap now and then doesn't hurt, but we don't want to see temperatures down in the teens or single digits for an extended period of time," Coleman said.

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