Farmers in Richmond Hill are asking the community for help after floodwaters ripped apart their driveway and submerged a portion of their land, killing off countless vegetation and resulting in significant financial loss.
Ana and Billy Duggar own Billy’s Botanicals, an aquaponics farm that raises organic products. Their stand at the Forsyth Farmer’s Market has become a staple as they are the only vendor that offers fresh seafood.
Ana said her low-lying property took the brunt of the storm as torrential downpour on Sept. 10 left vegetation submerged in water. Their driveway was washed away and the couple spent at least $50,000 in rebuilding efforts.
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Ana said this is the first time in their 10 years on the property that they have dealt with unprecedented floodwaters.
“It just kept raining,” said Ana. “When it stopped raining, we noticed that we still had water coming in. The water would be rushing in from neighboring properties. We were under a foot of water. Our family was stranded for about five days. We were not able to access or leave our property with the exception of trying to just barrel through it with the farm truck to get my five-year old to school”
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The couple watched hour after hour as more rain continued to barrel down, but did not notice how much water accumulated on their land until the following Monday. “Eventually we realized the amount of standing water that we were taking on and the fact that the forecast was forecasting more rain, and we were already underwater,” said Ana.
The family is looking into purchasing culverts to redirect water in the back of the property, but if that effort fails, they will have to regrade the entire property.
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The couple relied on local restaurants to purchase fresh herbs, but the loss of popular items such as basil puts their small business at even more risk.
Ana said their success at their farm stand came from cultivating relationships. Now, she is hoping the clients they have come to know and love will lend a hand so they can continue giving to those who have made their business a success.
“The amount of money it’s going to take to reengineer this property is a lot,” said Ana.
The Duggars are currently looking for assistance with a Gofundme page at https://gofund.me/7b416a1b.
Latrice Williams is a general assignment reporter covering Bryan and Effingham County. She can be reached at email@example.com.