Little Rainfall in Region 8 Hitting Farmers Hard - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Greene County, AR -- Heather Flanigan Reports

Little Rainfall in Region 8 Hitting Farmers Hard

August 29, 2007 - Posted at 7:12 p.m. CDT

PARAGOULD, AR -- Parts of Region 8 saw some rain Wednesday afternoon, but not everyone was so lucky.  Some folks who have been hoping for rain the most...farmers.

Many farmers have already begun the harvest season because dry conditions and hot temperatures have accelerated the growing process.  And for most of them, it's been a dusty ride.

"Rain would help but if you've already got the crop made and you are cutting, you would just as soon cut dry and you know, keep going," said Greene County farmer Johnny Distretti.

While only a small portion of Region 8 received rain on Wednesday, Distretti wasn't that lucky at his Walcott land.

"All of ours are irrigated. It cost a tremendous amount of money to keep the wells running and buying diesel for them to work. We had a rain up until July and got a very good crop started," said Distretti.

"It is a tough time, especially with all the high expenses they are having to go through. It's a pretty tough time," said Greene County Extension Agent Intern Blake McClelland.

McClelland believes if there's no rain in the forecast soon, many farmers could lose their dry land soybeans planted behind wheat.

"It helped a little to settle the dust and kind of refresh the plants but other than that it didn't really help a whole lot. We needed a lot, we need inches. Instead of half inch, quarter inch.  We needed an inch to two inches at a time," said McClelland.

"It would help to group five beans, it would settle the dust and get to where you could see going up and down the gravel road," said Distretti.   

And while it's not a bad year yet for farmers, it may not be one for putting anything back in the bank.

"Everybody has to use a lot of irrigation, which is affecting their profit margin by a lot because fuel is expensive, electricity is expensive to run wells and it's really hard to pump water in certain areas. Especially on the western side of Crowley's Ridge," said McClelland.

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