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If Dry Spell Continues, Virginia Farmers Will Take a Hit

 

 

Danville, Bluefield, and other parts of the state all had the driest September on record. If the dry spell continues it could mean a big hit to the bottom line for many farmers.  

Steve Gallmeyer walks through a patch of corn on his farm outside Richmond. He grabs an ear of corn off the stalk.    

“Everything is bone dry,” Gallmeyer says. 

The skinny ear of corn he’s picked up is withered on one end. Gallmeyer says this patch, planted later in the summer, is ruined unless it rains again. 

But he also has a pick your own pumpkin patch, so he can absorb the hit. If he only grew corn Gallmeyer says it would be a disaster. 

As October begins, almost all of Virginia is abnormally dry. According to the Department of Agriculture much of the state is experiencing moderate drought. 

  “We’re at a critical point if we don’t get some rain and get it soon,” says Elaine Lidholm with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

One the state’s hardest hit crops has been hay. As of September 29th, more than half of the state’s hay crop is classified as being in poor or very poor condition. 

“If you eat anything that eats hay then there’s a problem,” says Lidholm.

For instance beef farmers will be feeling the effects of the drought this winter, when they run out of hay and have to sell their cows early for a low price. 

 

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

 

Mallory Noe-Payne is a Radio IQ reporter based in Richmond.