Facing Drought, Arkansas Farmers Try to Calculate How Much to Plant

MARCH 17, 2006 - Posted at 7:48 a.m. CST

CARLISLE, AR - Arkansas has had below-average rainfall for 16 months.  Now, farmers in the Natural State are having a tough time planning for the 2006 growing season.

Rice requires a lot of water, and many rice producers with abnormally low irrigation reservoirs are unsure about how much of the plant they can sow.

Farmers like Rich Hillman, who farms near Carlisle, will have to make difficult guesses about what will happen.

Hillman, like many Arkansas farmers, will be monitoring the large weather system that is forecast to move into the state this weekend.  As much as four inches of rainfall could result.

There's more hope on the horizon.  More rainfall is forecast by the National Weather Service.

(The Associated Press  contributed to this report.)