Extreme drought causing economic problems for farmers

CSRA News

WAYNESBORO, Ga. (WJBF) — Despite the recent rain, the effect of the prolonged drought, and the combination of record-breaking October temperatures, farmers say salvaging crops is now beyond being reversed.

“If it would’ve come six weeks ago, it would have been a whole different story,” said Brad Edenfield. “This same rainfall would make a huge difference for a lot of people.”

For commodities farmers like Edenfield, the lack of rain is causing a flood of problems. According to the United States Drought Monitor, roughly half of Burke County progressed from severe drought to “extreme conditions.” It also predicts surrounding areas will suffer substantial economic consequences.

“There are times when droughts are worse than others, and it always feels like the one you’re in is the worst,” explained Edenfield. “It is definitely one of the worst in history, though – I feel like it’s been one of the worst for us as a family farm.”

Edenfield told NewsChannel 6 reporter, Devin Johnson, he and other farmers are having to destroy some dryland crops, something they have never had to do in the past.

“It hurts individual farmers, because there may be some people who won’t be able to do it again next year,” said Edenfield. “But then, as the country as a whole, what people don’t realize is the food doesn’t just show up at the grocery store. It has to be grown on a farm somewhere.”

And he says insurance does not produce enough money for farmers to dig themselves get out of the situation.

“It is going to affect things at the consumer level to get that product to the shelves,” explained Edenfield. “There may not be as much product to get there and, when it does, it may be more expensive.”

The family farmer says the extreme drought is going to affect them for years to come, but that isn’t stopping them from hoping and planning for next year.

“You definitely start to look at trying to plant something that may be a little more conducive, even though it may not be as profitable,” said Edenfield. “Trying to plant something that can withstand that drought if you experienced it again.”

The United States Drought Monitor says the drought extends over to the Savannah River and over into Allendale County.

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