Cold Weather Keeps Farmers Out Of St. Francis County Fields

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(St. Francis Co., AR) Spring may officially be here, but cold weather isn't letting go of its grip on the Mid-South.

We may gripe about being cold, but Mid-South farmers are telling us spring's delay is keeping them idle.

Robert McCain grows cotton, soybeans and rice on his 2500 acres in St.Francis County, Arkansas, "In the next few days we need it to warm up and turn into spring."

Like many other farmers here, the unseasonable cold has kept him on the sidelines, "At this point we're just concerned that we don't have another Easter freeze like we did several years ago."

McCain had considered planting corn, like some farmers have already done, but decided instead to get 1200 acres ready for cotton instead, "I did some fall tillage and got my ground bedded up and ready to plant and we chemically burned down the weeds. So we're just sitting and waiting for it to warm up."

There are roughly 300, 000 acres of farm land in St. Francis County.

Normally, by this time of year,  farmers would be finished fertilizing and putting out weed control.

St. Francis County Extension Agent Mitch Crow, says this season farmers are weeks behind schedule, "Our farmers have to be on time. Mother nature doesn't wait on our farmers."

Crow says farmers can't plant corn because it's too cold and many fields are flooded.

He says it's a far cry from 2012, "Last year was an excellent year for corn, had just fantastic yields. And a lot of our farmers are wanting to plant corn again this year. But they can't right now."

Wheat is a crop that likes a lot of dry weather and some acreage is still underwater from recent heavy rain.

While farmers in St. Francis County didn't get the four to five inches of snow that fell in northeast Arkansas, there's nothing to celebrate until spring like temperatures arrive, soon.

If the weather cooperates, it may take another two to three weeks before farmers can get back on schedule.

That not only costs farmers money, but those costs will likely be passed on at the grocery store.