Tenn. farmers scramble to protect crops from freezing temps - WKRN News 2

Middle Tenn. farmers scramble to protect crops from freezing temps

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Farmers are scrambling to protect their crops as freezing temperatures return to Middle Tennessee Farmers are scrambling to protect their crops as freezing temperatures return to Middle Tennessee
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. -

With freezing temperatures expected Tuesday night, Middle Tennessee farmers are scrambling to protect their investment.

"If it gets as cold as y'all say it's going to get, I'm in trouble," farmer Billy McCraw said.

McCraw, who owns McCraw Strawberry Ranch in Clarksville, said he has been farming in the area his whole life, but just began growing strawberries in the last five years.

Currently, his strawberries are in full bloom, but if they are not protected from the freeze, they would die.

"We've got 140,000 strawberry plants and if they do good, we are planning on 14,000 quarts of strawberries. At $3 a quart, I've got a big investment here and we've got $28,000 tied up in just nothing but the plants," McCraw explained.

When it comes to protecting his precious crops from a freeze, he told News 2 he has it down to an art form.

McCraw said he put together a rig using his tractor that unrolls the fabric like a huge roll of paper towels.

"These covers we're putting down here, they're $1,000 a roll. Right now, we've got 14 rolls of it tied up, so we've got $14,000 in covers, not counting labor or anything like that," he explained.

According to the long-time farmer, the fabric will protect the plants down to about six degrees above the outside temperatures.

"Right now we're on the borderline. I've got a sign out there on the road that says, ‘If the Lord's willing, we're open in the spring.' I hope he's willing!" McCraw said.

If the berries survive, McCraw Strawberry Ranch will be open for the public to come pick strawberries around May 10.

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