Rainfall Comes As Financial Relief to Farmers

AUGUST 11, 2006 -- POSTED AT 2:30 P.M. CDT

CRAIGHEAD COUNTY, AR -- Sometimes rainy weather can put a damper on our plans, but to most Region 8 Farmers, it's a sign of relief.

"Typically, rain this time of year may easily be worth 10 to 12 million dollars, just in Craighead county," says Steve Culp, Craighead County Agriculture Agent.

Once the rain falls, the savings can start to add up.

"We would count that based on the value of the moisture of the crop, plus the expenditure the farmers would have to spend on fuel and energy costs for pumping. So, with the combination of those two, it's a significant rain fall event," says Culp.

Culp says because of the current high cost of farm operations, many farmers were desperately hoping for natural irrigation and after last night, that wish came true. Jonesboro received nearly 2 inches of rainfall.

We caught up with one Region 8 Farmer, Joe Christian who farms about 2400 acres in Craighead County. He says he was definitely thankful for the rain.

"Fuel prices are so high and it takes a lot of water and a lot of fuel to make a crop of rice and when it rains, that helps us out," says Christian.

Christian says the needed rain is a blessing to so many farmers.

"Overall, if we can save fuel from this rain, and not have our rice blown down from high winds, it's an all and all plus," added Christian.

Christian said that after last night's significant rainfall, harvest should be on schedule to begin in nearly 3 weeks.