Excessive rain in U.S. Southeast causing millions in crop damage

Aug. 2, 2013 at 4:36 PM
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CORDELE, Ga., Aug. 2 (UPI) -- While half the United States west of the Mississippi River is in drought, the Southeast is getting too much rain and it's damaging crops, officials say.

Rainfall totals in many areas of the region are 20 inches above normal, and produce that grows close to the ground or on vines has been heavily damaged, farmers are reporting.

Sam Crenshaw, who grows watermelons in Cordele, Ga. -- self-described "watermelon capital of the world" -- said half his crop is ruined, with a million dollars in losses.

"It's the wettest year I've seen," he told CBS News. "I've never seen a year this wet."

Waterlogged melons split open, rot or lose flavor, he said.

Crops can be irrigated during a drought, but with this much rain there is "nothing you can do," Crenshaw said. "You can't take the water away."

The heavy rains follow two years of drought in the southeast. The National Weather Service predicts the region can expect above average rainfall through October.

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