Panhandle Farmers Praying for Rain

By: Bergen Baucom Email
By: Bergen Baucom Email

Marianna- It's been an odd growing season for Panhandle Farmers.

"They had to wait to plant because it was cool. Then when we had moisture and we got started planting, but then it just didn't rain" Jackson County Agriculture Agent, Doug Mayo explained. "And if it gets to a point where that first few inches of soil doesn't have moisture, your seeds don't germinate. So it's kind of put a hold on finishing getting our crops in. So we really need some rain so we can finish getting all of our field planted, get started. Late planting typically means lower yields."

Mayo said the last time the area received a measurable amount of rain fall was May 4th.

"That length of time is whats really a cause for concern. How long will it be before we get a good amount of rainfall."

Only an estimated 25-33% of Jackson County growers have irrigation systems and few, if any, have fully irrigated operations.

"Even with irrigation its not the same as rain. Because it's 90 degrees, the soil is dry that water hits and not all of it sticks, some of it evaporates. Whereas when it rains, it clouds up, the humidity comes up, cools down, more of that moisture stays."

For farmers who have been waiting on water, ever day is a potential planting day down the drain.

"We all look at our yards and say gosh I wish it would rain. Its different though when its your livelihood. These crop farmers plant a seed in late April early may and that's their income for the year- sitting their struggling in the heat and drought."

Mayo said the extended forecast did not predict the county to be under a long term drought warning.

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