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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Florence Dillahunt, May 31, 2001. Interview K-0580. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Damaged crops and other setbacks

Dillahunt explains how she and her husband continued to struggle in the wake of the flood. In addition to having lost their home and their possessions, their tobacco, soybean, and corn crops were severly damaged and continued to suffer two years after the farm. At the same time, changing requirements of the tobacco industry necessitated that the Dillahunts replace their burners for curing tobacco, the cost of which exceeded $30,000. Dillahunt concludes the interview just after this passage, noting that she and her husband were both having trouble finding ways to make ends meet and to rebuild their lives.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Florence Dillahunt, May 31, 2001. Interview K-0580. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

LEDA HARTMAN:
And how has it been now that you've continued farming after the flood? How's it been?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Last year weren't good at all. The year after we come, let's see, last year was 2000. We had that flood in '99, didn't we? It weren't good at all last year because a lot of our crops come up, like the soybean and stuff, had died. So we got those back there. So this year my husband went and he talked with the man that had some chicken houses. See when we had that flood, that flood took a lot of stuff out of the soil. He put manure from the chicken houses over the land, trying to get it built back up. They looking pretty good so far.
LEDA HARTMAN:
The plants [are] tobacco mostly?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
The soybeans and the corn.
LEDA HARTMAN:
The corn.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Looking better than it did last year.
LEDA HARTMAN:
But it might take a while for the land toߞ?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Got to build it back up. That water took a lot out of it.
LEDA HARTMAN:
So it hasn't been so easy continuing on in the farming afterߞ.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
No, it ain't been easy. They have a lot of break downsߞthings breaking down. And we have had to do the tractors over again. We have got oh, this is the big thing, the tobacco company, in order for them to buy your tobacco, they won't buy it with the burners that's in the barns now. We got to replaceߞ.
BETTY HOWES:
You got to replace all those?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Thirty thousand dollars. We had to borrow it to replace burnersߞpart of them sitting on this porch right here. The other one is on the truck, under the shell. They won't buy the tobacco.
BETTY HOWES:
And they're no good, not even for salvage?
LEDA HARTMAN:
Because you had to convertߞ?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
We had to convert. You heard about it, did you?
LEDA HARTMAN:
I did.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
We had to convert. I said, "Lord," I said, "after all that happen to us, why did they come in and make usߞ. We had to buy new burners to go in some of the barns last year before we could get through curing the tobacco. They was ruined. We had to replace them. And I said, "Now they are making us replace them again, so how you going to make it?"
BETTY HOWES:
Farming's hard.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Hard. How you going to make it? We had to replace burners every time we go to cure [unclear] tobacco. That burner would go out because it stayed under the water so long. We had to replace them. Not the whole burner, but the motor. We had to buy the motor and put in there. And this time they made us replace the whole thing.