Source: ABC 11
A new ABC11 analysis of climate data shows that North Carolina’s summers are becoming hotter and more frequent, and this is having a major impact on the state’s agriculture industry.
Larry Lane, a watermelon farmer in Dudley, North Carolina, has seen firsthand the effects of climate change on his crops. He says that the heat has made it harder for his watermelons to grow, and he estimates that he can only sustain his crop for another 2 or 3 years. “It makes me sad you can’t grow anything like you used to anymore,” Larry told ABC11.
Other farmers in North Carolina are also facing similar challenges. In Wayne County, for example, farmers are expected to see 49 days each year with a blistering heat index of 100 degrees or higher by 2050. This could have a major impact on the county’s main industry, which is agriculture.
“Call volumes for all of our first responders, all of our resources have gone up year after year, and so it’s making sure that we’re prepared long range and can take care of residents when they need it,” said Joel Gillie, public information officer for Wayne County.
The heat is also affecting farm workers. Elizabeth Cantu, a healthcare worker who assists migrant farm workers, says that she has seen more cases of farm workers getting sick from heat in recent years. She says that people often power through in dangerous conditions so they don’t lose out on work.
The uncertain future of North Carolina’s agriculture industry is a major concern for many people in the state. Larry Lane, known to many as “The Watermelon Man”, says that he is not giving up on his watermelon farm, but he knows that he will have to adapt to the changing climate.