Gambling Farmers

In a sense, farmers are the biggest gamblers in the world. Each year, they must base their livelihoods and futures in the hope that the weather will be good. Lately, it has not—at least, not for farming. Most of the state was hit with several years of drought. We along this part of the coast were spared most of that due to brushes with hurricanes. Some other parts of the Coastal Plain, though, suffered from flooding, so it was a "feast or famine" situation for North Carolina .

Folks from Raleigh to Charlotte were forbidden to water their lawns or wash their cars. People in Pender County were using boats instead of cars! Now, the drought has eased in the Piedmont and people can park their shiny cars in their green-grass-bordered driveways. But, for farmers—especially tobacco farmers—the situation is approaching grim. It is, as the old saying goes, too wet to plow, pretty much over the whole state.

Many crops are only about half-planted, and tobacco planting is two-to-three weeks behind schedule. And that can be critical. But many farmers live with that roll-of-the-dice, because they love what they do. And we should all be thankful they're willing to take that gamble.