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Farmers Say Flooding at Pickwick Destroying Profits

By Erica Williams
By ewilliams@wbbjtv.com

SAVANNAH, Tenn- Some West Tennessee farmers have already taken a loss and said if the Tennessee Valley Authority does not do something to control future flooding in Hardin County, it will only get worse.

"Any upcoming rain scares us," said Chris Harrell, a farmer in Hardin County.

And with a chance of rain this weekend, farmers are hoping this time their crops are spared.

"They've already dealt us a really hard blow," said Ron Robertson, another farmer.

Since the beginning of July, farmers said they have seen more flood water than normal near Pickwick. While mother nature cannot be controlled, they said the amount of water released from dams by TVA can be. So far, they said they have lost more than 30 percent of their crops, estimating more than $1 million losses.

"They don't manage this the way they should for the average farmer," said Ed Willougby, a longtime farmer.

TVA officials said they began lowering lake levels prior to the rain to help prevent flooding; but it rained more than expected and they were unable to limit the amount released into farmlands.

Officials said farmers should know the risks of planting in a flood plain.

"Sure it's a risk if you farm in the bottoms, but this is the best soil in Tennessee," said Harrell.

And it is a risk that TVA officials said has cost many farmers along the Tennessee River a large portion of their crops.

Because it is so late in the summer, most farmers said replanting is not an option.


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