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Heavy rain creates messes for East Tennessee farmers

GREENBACK, Tenn. (WATE) - Rain is often a good thing for farmers, but is there such a thing as too much fo a good thing? Chances are if you've passed by any open fields lately, you've spotted pools of water where there should be green pastures.

The rain is making a mess of operations at Fugate Farms in Greenback.

"Typically farmers don't fuss or gripe or growl about rain, but too much rain is about as bad as not enough rain," said cattle farmer Dave Fugate.

He says with all the rain lately, his farm is surviving. Rain calls for harder work and means they're having to check on their herds often because wet weather can cause sickness.

"Cattle survive well but it's just you watch their mobility. It's harder for them to walk int he mud. If you look around the feeders down there, the mud is two feet deep," added Fugate.

The weather last year helped with an abundance of hay this year, most of it is being stored inside their barn, though there are bales out in the field.

"The rain will cause the hay that's outside to weather, it'll get some rot, it's not as good a quality, it takes more of that to feed the cows," said Fugate.

Chores are done carefully and the mud is hard on farm equipment. It'll take two days and a pressure washer to clean the tractor used to bale hay for the cattle.

"It's not an easy job. It's rewarding," said Fugate.

Now, like so many other farmers, the Fugates are watching the weather hoping things will dry out. 

"When the rain ends, this time of year, you're going to see the grass really come out, green, pretty, and then we really go to work," he said.

Steve Rutherford, owner of Rutherford Farms in Blount County which grows produce, says this weather is essentially stopping them in their tracks. While there's no damage, the rain has messed with their timeline. Rutherford saying right now they should be setting out green onions, beets, and have beds pulled up to plant other vegetables. But the ground is so saturated there's no way to have a tractor on it.

Despite working the fields ahead of the rain to create natural drainage channels, Rutherford hopes the weather dries out soon.

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