South Carolina cotton farmer races against Hurricane Ian

This isn’t Jeff Wilson’s first rodeo. He and his crops have survived a number of past hurricanes, including Hugo.
Cotton farmers in South Carolina are racing the clock to harvest their crops before incoming rain damages them.
Published: Sep. 30, 2022 at 3:52 PM EDT
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YORK COUNTY, S.C. (WBTV) - Jeff Wilson takes great pride in growing cotton fields.

He worried about his fields in York County, South Carolina and they may be in harm’s way, connected to the devastation brought on by Hurricane Ian.

Some years have been very good, and other times have been critically challenging.

This harvest season bears an X-factor considering the potential of what the weather could bring.

" I’ve been growing cotton since 1965. That was my first cotton crop,” Wilson said. “It makes us worry about our crops. We have worked on them all year. There’s a time to harvest. And when you have a threat like a hurricane, you don’t know what will happen.”

What has happened outside the U.S. mainland is fueling fears for those like Wilson who make a living from what comes out of the soil.

“This is hard land to pick once you get four to six inches,” he said.

And that kind of rain can impact the value of what has the potential of becoming a lucrative cash crop, according to Wilson.

“Every time it rains on cotton you get a little bit less when you go back,” he said. “And the wind can blow it on the ground when it’s open like this.”

It is a race against time that deals with uncertainty.

Man’s battle against nature and the fears of what Hurricane Ian may leave behind.

”When you have a threat like a hurricane, You don’t know what will happen,” Wilson said.

This isn’t Jeff Wilson’s first rodeo. He and his crops have survived a number of past hurricanes, including Hugo, and at age 72, he doesn’t plan to throw in the towel anytime soon.

“Every year is a challenge when you grow cotton. It’s my favorite thing to grow,” he said.

He is hoping to harvest 70 of his 400 acres before the expected rains from Ian arrive in South Carolina.

Related: VIDEO: Cherry Grove Pier damaged by Hurricane Ian