Alabama's Drought Worsens: Farmers Not Alone In Crisis - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Alabama's Drought Worsens: Farmers Not Alone In Crisis

The skies are overcast and meteorologists say this weekend represnets one our best changes for rain anytime soon. But despite so many hopes and prayers, for the most part it's dry outside. 

Dust coming from behind his tractor - in a normally green field - is the last thing Richard Edgar wanted to see in 2007.

"We're coming off a drought year, we're coming off a short income year," said Edgar.

Despite everyone's hopes, an eight inch deficit in rainfall has delivered exactly the situation no one wanted.

Cotton farmers have yet to put out seed because of the dry conditions, corn farmers have a crop in the field, but it's at a standstill. And so are other commodities.

"The turnout of hay - we're yielding about half of what we normally yield cutting ryegrass hay," said Edgar.

The Sahara like conditions are hurting farmers.  For many, especially in north Alabama, it's near catastrophic. For other people whose businesses depend on the outdoors, it's not quite as bad.

Tim Turbeville owns Emerald Mountain Golf Course. He's one of the lucky ones. He has irrigation ponds nearby to draw water from, but when you're pumping a half million gallons a day it gets pricey.

"Our electric bill goes up. Last year during the drought it doubled each month and this year we're seeing the same thing," he said.

Worse, Turbeville says when it's hot and dry, fewer golfers show up to play, which takes another chunk from his revenues. Still, it's not as bad as what Richard Edgar foresees.

"Everything depends on situations that are outside of our control," he said.

Which is why both men are looking skyward...and hoping.

Reporter: Chris Holmes

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