Proud to be a Farmer: How recent weather affects corn crops

Published: Jun. 13, 2019 at 7:01 PM EDT
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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Georgians are used to seeing peanuts this time of the year, but it is not Georgia’s widest grown crop.

Every county in Georgia produces corn, but it’s particularly important for the folks of Montgomery and Toombs County.

“We probably have 200 individual families that depend on our farm. Everything they have, everything they get is dependent on this farm,” said farmer, Jason Herndon.

Herndon farms over 1,000 acres of sweet and field corn, but the weather has made it challenging this season.

During last month’s heat wave, soil temperatures topped out over 135 degrees during the afternoon; well above the average. This week’s cooler air and rain have helped the crop. It wasn’t that case early in the growing season.

“We went 60 days, I think, here on our farm with no rainfall, minimum to rainfall at all, which will probably double or triple our irrigation costs during that time period. With the weather this year, it is coming off about 10 days earlier than it should be. We have had to make adjustments to have a market share for our crop,” Herndon said.

To beat the heat, workers harvest corn overnight and are cooling it down before lunchtime. The corn that doesn’t stay local gets shipped out to about 25 states across the country.

“When I ship it to Boston or wherever it goes, it is at about 34 or 35 degrees. It gives it shelf life, it gives is reliability, 7-10 days down the road, that corn is still as fresh as the day we picked it,” Herndon said.

In addition to corn, he helps grown greens and other produce - something he hopes he can pass along to his three children.

“I would really love to see them back on the farm one day, because without the farm, America is going to be in trouble. We are going to encourage them to do whatever they want to do, but there is always a place on the farm for them," Herndon said.

It’s a farm that Jason Herndon has given 25 years of his life to, to help support his family and countless people across the state.

“I don’t know any farmer that hunts any glory. We get up and we get to do what we want to do every day, and that is to try to feed this country. That is what drives us. That’s our passion and this is our sanctuary, standing out here on this farm."

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