Local farmer has plan if tropical system hits the Lowcountry

By Sonya

ST. GEORGE, S.C. (WCIV) -- We all get worried when there is the threat of a tropical system, but for farmers the impacts can be devastating, which is why preparation is so important.

Stanley Gruber has 600 acres of farmland to take care of in St. George, so an impending storm means days of preparation.

"We want to try and get all the corn out the field, if not just lay it down, make it real hard to harvest," said Gruber, owner of Gruber Farms. "The cotton and the soybeans let it ride and ride out with them and the peanuts and stuff."

He grows over 50 different crops which he sells at farmer's markets and in CSA programs, which is why weather can affect his livelihood.

"If the ground was dry then everything can stand better but if a hurricane came through right now and dumped 10 to 15 inches of rain on us it would be disastrous on all the farming operations," said Gruber.

But if a tropical system were to head this way, crops aren't the only concern you also have to worry about equipment and animals.

There are 20 dogs that call the farm home and he would make sure all of them have shelter if a storm strikes.

"Either I will bring them in the house or go into that kennel one or the other," said Gruber. "That one made it through Hugo with no problem so I'm assuming that will be about as bad as it would get."

As for his equipment, he believes that a shelter isn't the best idea.

"I would rather have it in the open and only be wind and rain and get it away from trees rather than building and trees falling on it. That was my way of thinking," said Gruber.

But of all the impacts, losing electricity is the most detrimentalwhich is why days before the storm it's important to fuel up generators, store water, and get chainsaws ready.

"The hurricanes you have time to prepare. You know they are coming or within two to three days you know whether you're going to get hit or not," said Gruber.

Gruber has been farming for over 30 years yet has only been through two hurricanes. But he knows how intense these storms can be, which is why he monitors the weather all through hurricane season.