Arkansas’ drought status worries local farmers

Arkansas’ drought status worries local farmers

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, almost the entire date of Arkansas is now in severe drought status. Farmers aren't just worried about feeding themselves this summer - they're worried about feeding their livestock, too.
CONWAY, AR - The Simon brothers milked 140 cows on their Conway dairy farm today. The milk is how they make their living. Here's the problem though - due to severe drought conditions, it's getting tougher and tougher to feed the cows.

"You're switching to survival mode rather than profit mode," Matt Simon of Simon Brothers Dairy said.

The Simon brothers grow all of their own feed. Their corn fields are half as tall as they usually are at this time of year.

"It's almost sick to come look at it," Simon said.

And they usually don't tap into their reserve stash of hay until winter. This year, they had to do it before summer.

"Kinda leaves you with nowhere to turn and you don't know what to do,” Simon said. “The only hope is that there will be rain soon."

Travis Justice of the Arkansas Farm Bureau says because of the drought, the Simon brothers aren't alone. And making things worse, Arkansas had a dry spring too.

"Generally, you get spring rains that'll hold you until July and so forth,” Justice said. “Well, we didn't get that, so we're two months ahead of our normal expected dry season."

It leaves farmers like the Simon brothers hoping for rain - and time.

"We've still got time to make a crop that can do us some good, but our maximum potential has already been taken away,” Simon said. “It'll be an expensive year."

More than 83% of the state is currently in "severe drought status."

At the same time last week, only 1% of the state met that qualification.

The northeast corner of Arkansas is in the worst shape right now, with parts of Clay County classified as being in "extreme drought."
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