Drought Continues to Impact on Farmers

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Recent rain provided some relief to dry conditions in the southeast however without more rain, the drought will continue and the impact will be a problem in the months to come for area farmers.

Growers are not the only ones affected by the dry-spell. Area businesses that depend on farming are feeling the financial pinch and many are afraid it will only get worse.

Nick Snellgrove is a peanut farmer. He grows produce and sells it at the farmer's market.

"One year, I lost about $75,000 one year--last year," said Snellgrove

With the rising prices of fuel and fertilizer, combined with a lack of rain, he's afraid of losing even more money this year. Its concerns like these that contribute to an even larger problem.

Wiregrass Research & Extension Center Agronomist Dallas Hartzog said, "Because of the drought, farmers are not going to the agricultural supply houses. They are not purchasing as they normally would. So this drought is not only effecting farmers, it's effecting everybody."

One of the companies feeling the pinch is Red Fox Fertilizer. They say their products are not moving as quickly as they normally would this time of year because hay and pastures, along with certain crops, are not being treated.

General Manager Ken Carr said, "It's gotten worse in the last few weeks. I think initially everyone was hopeful we would get rain and how as rain's been spotty and kind of short, we see folks cutting back."

These cut-backs will most likely create a trickle-effect outside of the farming industry.

Most are afraid the recent rain is too little and too late, for those who received any. While some crops may be able to rebound from this drought, several have already been lost.

Farmers say the crop that has been most impacted by the drought is cotton.

Dry-land corn and hay are also suffering. State agriculture officials are still trying to find a way to step in and help farmers, but will not make their way down to our area for at least another week.