Farmers Say Drought Has Taken its Toll - - ABC13

Farmers Say Drought Has Taken its Toll


Reporter: Carleigh Griffeth

Bedford Co., VA- A severe drought is wreaking havoc on most of the country, especially on farms in the Midwest. Conditions there have been so dry for so long, farmers there say their crops can no longer be saved.

Some of our local farmers are almost to that point as well.

We spoke to the owner of Double Good Dairy Farm in Bedford today. Farmer Mark Goode is still hoping for some rain, but says the chances of that helping his corn crop are slim to none.

"Ok this corn here should be eight to ten feet tall right now," said Mark Goode of Double Good Dairy Farm.

But it's only half that. At three to five feet tall, the short stalks and brown leaves are tell-tale signs of drought.

"The tops right here are dead. It's through growing and it's not going to mature anymore. So it's going to be ear-less and we'll just have to chop it like it is," said Goode.

Goode is having to harvest his corn a month early. It isn't going to the market though. It's going to feed his cattle. To feed his herd he mixes the corn he grows with grain he buys.

The better corn crop he has, the less grain he has to buy. And the most important part of the plant, the part that gives the cattle the most energy, is the kernel. And there are no kernels. There's not even a cob.

"It means we'll have to pay more for out of pocket for feed costs that we don't raise," said Goode.

Goode is slave to the market of supply and demand. That means he doesn't get to raise the price of his milk to make up for losses in his crop.

"That's just part of being a dairy farmer. You know, we're at the mercy of the market on both ends," said Goode.

And, at Mother Nature's mercy. This season, she hasn't been kind, bringing drought and a giant wind storm. Even though Goode says rain might not help his poor crop, he still keeps a hopeful eye on the clouds above.

And to add insult to injury, Goode's cattle have been so miserable in this summer's heat they've lost their appetites. And eating less means they don't produce as much milk. It's been an all-around tough season for Goode's farm.

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