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26 fofiiburg ft#flf>t(gf^Majj i ..^!f,abuffl / III. Thursday, May24, 1973 Cotton Country Dry Spell Lasts Two Days By JAMES BALENTINE ,wlth the back of hte rough W, Tewi. (fJPl) — It* fmMy4iWd farmers mill mttessty around the beat- tip bst*. Not one of tfiem has a seed if) the ground And cotton* planting season is almost over. "Looks like we're to for a long dry spell," J. W. Carman tells the halfcloMn other farmers to the Mill Top Cafe to says it ain't gonna rain for two days." The men laugh and Carman wipes the beer from his lips hand, "Hell, two days will be (he longest It's been dry since test fall.*' In the beer joints, pool rooms, country stores and service stations of West Tennessee, the men kill time aimlessly and talk about the weather, The area has been pelted with heavy rains since early "A lot of attention has been I businesses in those focused on the flooding along | dam aged by floods counties will be the fiver, but most people don't I eligible for low-interest federal Dyer County. "The weathermanLlast fall and the Mississippi River has been out of its banks more than two months. The river crested early this month at its highest level since 1937 PLAY OES Fun starts here! Out fit the kids with play shots that will fit well, can take it! Fit them up, soon. Lace-tie cushioned, canvas sneakers. 2.99 Boys' multi-strapped sandal. _— 4.99 Girls' thong sandal. 4.99 Ladies Sizes Also seem to realize that even the farmers not threatened with backwater are in danger of loans. Government officials have said flooding has done more too late to even plant beans." Gurtan lived In the tiny community of Hathaway, on the banks of the mighty river. He stayed as long as possible when the river began rising early this spring, then loaded his mat- and osing a crop this year, 'says | than $5 million in damages irW lIlg , „„, luawa m8 mai . Leon Latham, who with his jthe five-county area, with more tress and a few clothes in a father farmi 1,000 acres of hill j than 400 homes and 60 metel fLsSning. boat and set out land in Crockett County. businesses suffering major far higher ground. During his Latham, ^isonfe of the new damage. movement away from the river, . ^ I"!!!£^ y0l ?3 , T 1 ?" The federal government also he deposited his meager belong, formed ana MrelHnucated. He mmmmmmm ^ m ^ mmmmm ^ u ^ mmmm ^^ —t ^ mm— "How the hell can ive be inventive and resourceful if we can't even get in the field*?" has made available money forings in any house not occupied, the repair of roads, sewer systems, levees and other public structures. Authorities say at least 350,000 acres of land are under water in the five counties. Many farmers say tihey will not be able to plant any crops this year. "It's going to be at least a month before the water goes down," says J. P. Gurian, sitting on the front porch of a vacant house in Lake County. "Once we get back down there (to the farms), it's going to take at least another month for the land to dry and to clean up the trash. By that time, it'll be WAREHOUSE SHOE (ENTER Open Mon. & Fri. 9-9; Tue. thru Thur. 9-5:30; Sat. 9-6 120 E. MAIN ST. PH. 343-0725 is also worried, anxious just a little angry. "Old-timers say this is the worst year in their memory," he says. "A lot of people around here never finished their harvesting last year. They just plowed under the old crops and tried to start over." Mrs. Velderine Johnson had 100 acres of cotton last year on her two farms, one in Carroll County and (he other in Gibson. Half . the cotton was picked once, the other half not at all. Yellowed cotton hangs on the stalks in Mrs. Johnson's fields. Even if it were now dry enough for the mechanical cotton pickers to operate, the fiber would be virtually without Value, since it is discolored and rotten. "I don't know whether she's going to try and have a crop this year or not," says Mrs. Johnson's niece, Debra Baker. "We can't even get in the fields to cut the stalks." Latham and other farmers were unable to plant cotton by May 20, the latest possible date, so they will probably raise soybeans on the land instead. The beans have a shorter growing season and can be planted later. But without cotton, their major money crop, most of the farmers say they will be hurt financially. "What really burns me up," Latham says, "is the speech Earl Bute (U.S. Secretary of Agriculture) made in Memphis (two weeks ago). He said he had 'great confidence in the inventiveness and resourcefulness of the American farmer.' "How the hell can we be inventive and resourceful if we can't even get in the fields?" Butz later announced federal disaster assistance for most of the West Tennessee area, j making loans available to I farmers at 5 per cent interest. | The loans through the Fanners Home Administration will allow the farmers to consolidate their debts and plant again, he says "Farmers have to have credit to exist," says Latham. "We already have credit arranged or we wouldn't be in the business. I just don't see how the disaster loans are going to help much." Additional federal assistance has been authorized for five counties along the Mississippi j River — Lake, Dyer, Tipton, j Lauderdale and Shelby. The "This makes the fourth place where I've stayed," he says, scratching his bare chest and fighting off mosquitos. "I hope I don't have to leave this one, 'cause it's the only one I 've had with screens on the windows. "Without 'cm, the mosquitos will carry you off." The 51-year-old bachelor said he took his boat back down to Hathaway recently and found the entire community of 10 homes in a shambles. "My refrigerator and washing machine were settln' on the porch," he says. "Not only were they gone—so was the! whole damn porch. I FIGURINES 10% OFF MUSIC BOXES BONE CHINA MINIATURES HEME'S GIFT SHOP WIINBERG ARCADE 78 S. Proirit St. Phona 343-3905 R&S COIN and ANTIQUE SHOP WEINBERG ARCADE BLDG. — GROUND FLOOR 78 So. 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