Farmers Hope for Rain to Break Drought

By: Rayne McKenzie
By: Rayne McKenzie

Farmers in the Wiregrass are hoping for more rain as their crops begin to bloom. Both cotton and peanuts in the area are making a come back, but farmers say the crops need at least an inch-and-a-half to two inches of rain to make a harvest.

Wiregrass farmers continue to suffer as the area receives record low rainfall. While some of the peanut and cotton crops can be salvaged, farmers say it's too late for the majority of corn crops.

Henry County Extension Coordinator Jimmy Jones said, "Our dry land corn; [the] rainfall [is] so deficient, maybe [we could get] five bushels per acre and that's a disaster in the corn industry."

Average rainfall in Alabama is between 55 and 56 inches a year. This year, the Wiregrass has received less than half that amount.

Jones said, "This year we're behind 14, 15, 16 inches and then plus. So we are really behind 36 inches for a two year total."

Most farmers have already given up on making a profit this year and are just hoping to break even.

Farmers say they expect yields to be 50 percent less than last year, and as you know, last year, local crops were so bad area farmers qualified for federal assistance.

Extension agents say in the last eight to 10 years, more than 20 percent of Henry County farmers have sold their land. They say if dry weather continues to hurt farmers profit margins they expect more farmers to drop out of the business.

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