South Alabama cotton farmer devastated by Hurricane Michael damage

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HOUSTON COUNTY, Ala. - The cotton crop in Alabama's Wiregrass region took a serious beating from Hurricane Michael on Wednesday.

WHNT News 19 spoke with Fred Helms, a farmer in Houston County; he expected to harvest about 1,000 pounds of cotton per acre, but after the hurricane came through, Fred is looking at maybe 350 pounds per acre, if that, and some farmers are estimating total losses.

"The only word for it is-- it's devastating," Helms said.

When he first saw the damage from Michael, Helms was exactly that -- devastated.

"It's just a loss. You work six to seven months doing the right thing and all of a sudden, here comes this hurricane that the Lord sent us for what reason we don't know, and he takes it all away," the cotton farmer said.

Helms' farm luckily started picking their cotton early and picked roughly 1/3 of their crop, but some of it is now a complete loss. Other farms have lost it all, and unfortunately, Helms says crop insurance isn't as helpful as it might sound.

"Possibly, if you're lucky, you might get your expenses back out of your crop with no profit at all, but most of the time it's just a crutch to lean on and it won't pay no bills. It's just a crutch to kind of get you over the hump a little bit," Helms said.

Despite the loss Helms is facing, he considers his family to be blessed.

"It's not the end of the world. I know we have a place we can lay our head down, and a lot of people can't even get to where their house was and they know it's just gone," Helms said.

Helms says faith is key in the farming industry, and he knows that all farmers affected by this storm have the faith they need to get through this tragedy.

For any farmers down south that might be feeling the effects of Hurricane Michael, the United States Department of Agriculture has a tool to point you in the right direction for help.

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