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      Drought eating up crops

      COLUMBIA (WACH) --- Retired school teacher Willie Capehart is a first year farmer.

      He says after teaching agriculture for so long he decided to take to the fields and plant.

      Capehart says the heat is getting the best of his crops.

      Eighty percent of the corn yield has been lost. Most of my produce is under irrigation and even with the irrigation system you can't water it fast enough," says Willie Capehart, Orangeburg farmer.

      It TMs the same situation for farmers like Timothy Stills who says the drought is bad news for him.

      "The watermelon and cantaloupe they start cracking up they get sunburn and the size goes down in them," says Timothy Stills, Denmark farmer.

      Thursday the state's drought committee reporting Horry and Marion counties are at severe status.

      The committee also voting to put Kershaw, Lexington and Richland counties into a moderate drought status.

      Hugh Weathers The South Carolina Agriculture Commissioner remains optimistic.

      "We have a great long growing season, so what might impact us in July, may not be a problem in September, October as some of the fall crops come in," says Hugh Weathers.

      Weathers talking to a group of Midlands utility workers Thursday saying twenty and twenty-five percent of the states economy flows through agriculture business and that TMs why officials are bring proactive.

      "In the primary stages were learning about some investments that we hope will come to give South Carolina farmers a new alternative crop, as a winter crop that will match up with summer production," says Weathers.

      As for the hard working farmers at the South Carolina State Farmers Market they're hoping rain any rain becomes their best friend for the next few weeks.