Drought Has Effect on Local Farms

ATHENS, Ga. — If you are tired of all the rain we have been getting recently, you may not want to wish it away. The reason – is because we still need it.  There may have been an increase in rain lately, but the drought is far from over.

Green grass, it’s often taken for granted.  But after a summer and fall like the ones this past year, to farmers, green grass is a huge relief.  It’s made a difference to Madison County hay farmer and cattleman Terry Stephenson, but not in time for this year’s crop.

Stephenson usually sells a lot of hay, but this year, with the lack of rain, the grass died. What he could salvage he had to use to  save his own animals.

Stephen says, “Most of the hay I sell is horse hay, but it’s rolls, I sell it for pretty decent premium on it and instead of selling that hay, I am feeding that hay.”

Drought conditions have since improved, but according to the US Drought Monitor, here in the Northeast Georgia area, we are still in severe drought conditions.

University of Georgia climatologist, Pam Knox says, “We know we’re not completely out of the woods there yet completely, but things have improved, and I think over the course of the next couple of months, we will continue to see improvements.”

For farmers in the area, hopefully that will be the case, but the forecast for the next few weeks unfortunately isn’t too promising.

According to the National Weather Service, so far this year, Athens has received almost seven inches of rain, compared to last years just over three inches.

By:  John Holcomb @mcreeholcomb

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