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Rain Saves Tobacco Farmers

With drought conditions spreading across much of the region, this week's rains managed to perk up crops.

One tropical plant may have enough water now to survive the harsh heat and dryness of the summer ahead.

In the little sandy valley of Eastern Kentucky, a suddenly lush tobacco field has made quite a comeback. Parched and withering just a week ago, the lack of May rains had farmers like Steve Glass worried about this year's burly crop.

Two soaking showers to moisten the clay soil this week and as if by magic the crop came to life.

“This crop really took off,” Jonathan Carter of the UK Extension Company said, “Rain came at a good time and has an excellent jump start for growing season.”

Steve Glass is a tobacco farmer whose crop grows on 30 acres of prime farmland and in a good year produces 75 thousand pounds of tobacco.

Glass said his great grandfather said dry June makes a good crop, but this year we had the dry in May.

Now the green leaves are thriving. One more rain before the 4th of July and tobacco will grow waist high and set us up for a good if not bumper crop later this summer.

Tobacco is a tropical plant capable of with standing summer heat and drought once a good root system takes hold.

Now of all Kentucky, the eastern tobacco fields are in much better shape than the rest of the bluegrass.

Some tobacco fields have already failed in central and western Kentucky where farmers must consider a re-plant and hope for rain in the next 3 weeks. This was simply a case of rain falling at the last minute in Carter County.

In a county where tobacco is king, farmers like Glass look at this week's showers as million dollar rain.


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