Record heat and lack of rain: What recent drought has meant to the local agricultural community

Record heat and lack of rain: What recent drought has meant to the local agricultural community

JEFFERSON COUNTY, GA. (WFXG) - From the aftermath of Hurricane Michael to trade tariffs, the local agriculture community can’t seem to catch a break. Now, they’re dealing with drought-like weather conditions.

Randy Rhodes is a farmer in Jefferson County, Georgia, who primarily grows cotton and peanuts. Even though it’s only the beginning of harvest season, Rhodes has already harvested more than half of his cotton, and all of his peanuts for the year- usually, that doesn’t happen until the end of October.

Western counties in the CSRA have seen less than an inch of rain in the past month. Rhodes says, “It’s been terribly dry. Some farms aren’t hardly worth harvesting in this area," Rhodes says. ”I’ve had friends that hadn’t hardly got anything to harvest you know so it’s been a rough year."

Drought, heat, and the commodity process have been particularly hard on local farmers. Rhodes says cotton prices have dropped about 30 cents since the United States trade war with China began. “The combination of all three things has really hit us hard this year,” he says.

Although the drought has been a heavy burden, Rhodes says there is an upside. He was able to harvest his crops without any rain to slow down the process. However, he hopes to see some in the near future for the sake of his neighboring cattle farmers. Grass cannot thrive in these conditions, he says, which forces those farmers to purchase feed.

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