South Georgia Farmer Reflects on Vegetable Production Following Christmas Freeze

Jim Rogers Weather

By Clint Thompson

One South Georgia farmer’s decision to stagger his vegetable plantings spared him from losing his entire crop following the Christmas freeze event.

Christmas freeze event

“We stagger them all the time to make sure if something happens. We’re on plastic, too, with our greens, so that helped us to bring some of them back faster,” said Bill Brim, co-owner of Lewis Taylor Farms in Tifton, Georgia.

Bill Brim, co-owner of Lewis Taylor Farms

Instead of a 100% loss to Brim’s winter greens production, the loss amounted to approximately 80%. While it was devastating, it was not totally catastrophic, explained Brim.

“They all suffered pretty bad. We just started back (last week) harvesting again. We brought some of the fields back. Some of the fields weren’t at the same stage as others. Some of them didn’t make it, but a few of them did make it. We cropped the leaves off and started back harvesting again,” Brim said. “Like cabbage, (the freeze damage) goes up the stem and makes it rotten in the center. You can’t replace that.

“We were lucky that we didn’t lose all of them. It was unfortunate that we did lose what we lost. It was quite a few acres.”

Whatever crop Brim can salvage, he will take advantage of a seller’s market, starting with cabbage at $21.

“We don’t have any and that’s why they’re high. Collards and kale are up around $12 to $14. Turnips and mustard are up around $16. We can’t get them to come to harvest fast enough,” Brim said.