Heavy rains in Northern Georgia were having no effect on fruit and vegetable growing regions in the state’s southern half, grower-shippers and industry officials said.

Up to 20 inches of rain fell in and around Atlanta in the third week of September, killing seven people and leading Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to declare a state of emergency in 17 counties.

But the situation in Georgia’s largest produce-growing regions couldn’t be more different, said Beth Bland, program coordinator for the Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association, La Grange.

“The folks down in south Georgia where the majority of the fruit and vegetable production is taking place are irrigating,” she said.

Bland said shippers told her it’s “dry, dry, dry down here.”

One of those shippers, Shay Kennedy, co-owner, vice president and sales manager of Georgia Vegetable Co. Inc., Tifton, said growers would welcome some rain.

“We’re still irrigating almost every day,” she said. “It’s been warmer than normal, and we’ve had very little rain.”

Georgia growers could actually benefit from heavy rains in Tennessee and North Carolina. Bean markets, in particular, Kennedy said, could strengthen due to lost volumes in those states. Eggplant and cucumber markets also could be affected.

On Sept. 22 Georgia Vegetable was shipping squash and cucumbers, Kennedy said. Bean and eggplant shipments were expected the week of Sept. 28 and bell pepper, cabbage and greens shipments the week of Oct. 5, she said.