Drought Affects Farmers

By: Amanda Price Email
By: Amanda Price Email

A drought returns to parts of Eastern Kentucky and farmers are trying to cope with the dry conditions for the second summer in a row.

Some farmers are dealing with rainfall amounts between five to ten inches below normal for this time of year. Two farmers say they're once again seeing how a drought can affect their farm.

As dry as it is, farmers say it's still better than last year.

Forrest Bryant, a farmer, says “Last year there were a lot of farmers that went under. They couldn't make it.”

Farmers in Breathitt County say they usually have two harvests a year. This year the first one was pretty good, but now that the drought is back, it's looking like their second harvest won't make it.

Bryant says, “It's really not been all that bad until the last two or three weeks but it's getting to us now. Waters dried up, pastures dried up.”

Bryant owns cattle and horses and says when a drought occurs it costs him more money to keep his farm going. “Quite a bit money wise. We’ve had to put our cattle; we've got about 75 head, we've had to put them in the hayfields because the pasture's gone dry on us.” Bryant says it's just a domino affect. “They walk through and tromp it up and you won't have a very good hay crop next year again. Probably have to reseed it and that's very costly.”

Jake Smith grows produce and pumpkins on a several acres of land. Part of his land use to be filled with pumpkin vines, hauling truck loads of pumpkins out each fall, but farmer Smith says because of the drought the land is now bare.

Smith says the small farmers take a hit because they don't have the irrigation system that bigger farms might. “Here, very few would be set up to do that in Breathitt County.” Smith says not all is lost yet, if Eastern Kentucky can just get some rain. “I think if we can get it in the next couple of weeks or something you know the stuff will come on out and fill on out.”

For both farmers, they're just hoping it's not too little too late. Bryant says he's filling up a 100 gallon jug with water from his well and using his tractor to take it to his cattle and horses because almost everything has dried up.


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