Farmers deserve federal relief

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Recent rainfall in Western Tidewater has been a classic case of too little, too late for many area farmers.

Such is the sad state of area crops that the Southampton County Board of Supervisors will likely vote Monday to seek Gov. Tim Kaine’s help in having the county declared a primary disaster area.

The designation would clear the way for federal aid to county growers, whose losses are estimated at more than $14.5 million. That’s a substantial hit not just to farmers’ pocketbooks but to this area’s general economy.

Isle of Wight County supervisors voted Aug. 16 to seek a disaster designation.

A survey of Southampton County farmers revealed that all four of the major crops grown here have been impacted by the extreme weather this summer.

Corn has been hardest hit, followed by peanuts, cotton and soybeans.

Some experts have declared this summer to be the county’s driest in more than three decades.

We’re pleased to see the disaster declaration on the Board of Supervisors’ agenda, and we urge the governor to use his influence to have Southampton County added to the federal disaster list.