Cotton farm suffers loss after fire

VIDEO: Fire destroys cotton picker in east Alabama

PIEDMONT, AL (WBRC) - An east Alabama farm is in a race against time to replace a cotton picker after a fire destroyed their one and only machine.

The fire started the afternoon of Wednesday, October 17, while a farmer was harvesting the yield. The farmer was able to escape the fire, but a full basket of cotton was destroyed.

Acker Farms, off Highway 278 in Piedmont, is at the beginning of their harvesting season and they have already been set back this year due to rain. They have to harvest the 1,200 acres of cotton before it begins to deteriorate.

“If this would’ve happened towards the end of the year, it wouldn’t have been that big of a deal, but with it being that we’re not even halfway done, it’s terrible,” said Colby Acker, whose family owns the farm.

Acker says they hope to partner with a South Georgia farm that was destroyed by Hurricane Michael and lease a cotton picker from them. Thousands of acres of farming land in Georgia, Alabama and Florida were blown away and flooded by the storm. If the Alabama farm leased a machine from a Georgia farm, both operations would benefit.

Piedmont Fire Department responded and used foam to put out the flames. There is no indication as to what started the fire, but the cotton picker will have to be replaced. Thankfully, the farm is insured, but a new machine will cost well over $100,000.

Acker says the fire was a setback, but he is also looking at the bright side. “It could’ve been a whole lot worse,” Acker said.

The company supplies cotton for Cherokee Gin & Cotton Co. in Centre, Alabama.

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