Drought Continues to Take Toll on Farmers

By: Alex Zequeira
By: Alex Zequeira

This year's drought continues to take its toll on the farming industry in the Wiregrass. Row crop farmers are at a stand still waiting and hoping for rain to help their crops flourish. Cattle farmers are also in quite a bit of trouble.

Like many area farmers, they are very concerned about the dry conditions. They say the grass is not growing and that they have to rely on hay to keep their cattle healthy and this is not good especially going into the winter.

That's why Headland cattle farmer, Ryan Solomon, is digging into his hay stockpile.

"There's not anything for them to eat right now. There's a little bit even without water, but not a whole lot," said Solomon.

The recent drizzle of rain has added some color to the grass around his pasture, but the amount of grass is still low. Without a consistent amount of rainfall, he says he won't be able to produce enough hay to feed his cows in the winter, when they calve.
"Without the rain, we won't have that stockpile, to feed them this winter," said Solomon.

The same goes for other area farmers, who are also running out of the hot commodity.

Mike Johnson, hay producer, said "Everything we're cutting right now, we're having to feed. And normally, anything we bale over the summer months is just our winter feed. That's what we have to winter our cows, and we don't have anything to winter them on."

The situation is so bad that state officials are asking the federal government for help. One plan is to start grazing, empty state owned property.

Governor Bob Riley said, “If we can seed our B land right now that's something that could give immediate relief. Where we can go and take some of the land that we've set aside and start grazing it."

The situation is not looking good at all for these farmers. Johnson says he is usually able to get between two and three roles of hay per acre, but with this drought, he says he's lucky if he's ale to pull half a roll.


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