NewsPalm Beach CountyRegion The GladesBelle Glade


Farmers impacted by weeks of heavy rain, Tropical Storm Eta

Posted at 5:11 PM, Nov 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-11 20:09:00-05

BELLE GLADE, Fla. — Planting has been delayed and crops have been compromised because of mother nature.

The last few weeks of rain and Tropical Storm Eta have crippled farmers in western Palm Beach County.

Strong gusts of wind still whipped through stalks of sugar cane in Belle Glade on Wednesday.

But it’s the puddles of water in fields and the saturated soil that has the equipment offline and the tractors sitting still.

“This has been the most significant weather event at a start up that we’ve ever experienced. You overlay that with COVID and we haven’t seen anything like it," said David Goodlett.

Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida says the muck soil is like a sponge, holding in the moisture, and all the recent rain is causing major interruptions for harvesting.

"No where in the 450,000 acres can we harvest one stalk of cane, at least until Sunday or Monday," Goodlett said.

There’s also Tropical Storm Eta hitting late in the year and during peak planting season.

At Hundley Farms, there’s only been one planting in this cabbage field.

Usually by now there would be 50 to 60 acres full of cabbage. But the weather has only allowed for about 13 acres.

"It’s been an uphill fight the past couple of weeks trying to get things out of the ground before the rain covers them up," said Cooper Hopkins.

WPTV is told quality and quantity of vegetables from this area could impact supply at some stores until possibly December.

"There will likely be less. Those stretches we would have been planting a couple hundred acres a week maybe of various vegetables where we weren’t able to really plant anything," said Hopkins.

These farmers are staying optimistic and now looking to dry out so they can make up some ground.