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Georgia farmers brace for Hurricane Ian

The projected pathway of Hurricane Ian as of 5:00 AM on September 27.
National Weather Service
The projected pathway of Hurricane Ian as of 5:00 AM on September 27.

Georgia farmers are bracing for Hurricane Ian, as it travels north toward the Gulf Coast of Florida.

Although Ian is forecast to weaken to a tropical storm by the time it reaches south Georgia, heavy winds could still hit farms there hard as early as Wednesday.

Lenny Wells is a pecan farmer in Tifton, as well as a professor of horticulture at the University of Georgia.

"Really, all we can do is go ahead and make sure all irrigation is turned off, so the ground's not saturated when the wind gets here and try to harvest whatever we can before it arrives," Wells told GPB News.

Wells says the further west that Ian goes, the more damage it will cause to Georgia agriculture.

Taylor Sills, executive director of the Georgia Cotton Commission, says that while the peanut harvest is in full swing, much of the cotton crop isn't yet ready, and that makes it especially vulnerable to tropical storm-force winds.

"That's not good for the quality of the cotton. It's not as easy to harvest," said Sills.

Sills says many cotton farmers are trying to harvest as much as possible before Ian arrives.

About 1.3 million acres of cotton were planted this year in Georgia.