Drought dries up profits for area farmers


Reporter - Jason Hibbs
Photojournalist - Mason Watkins

FREDONIA, Ky. — No food for the cows and no money for the farmers: a cattle farmer says the drought has made this year one of the worst and Monday's rain may not be enough to stop him from taking drastic measures.

He's not the only one feeling the pain. Farmers across our area share the same story.

Fredonia, Kentucky farmer Eddie Boone told Local 6 what happens in our area won't necessarily affect the price you pay for beef at the supermarket. He said you have to look at the country as a whole.

But farmers fear the drought could do lots of damage to families and local communities who depend on farming to survive.

"It's getting rough all over," Boone said as he looked over a parched pasture and a hungry herd.

Boone believes if his cows could talk, they'd say they've struggled this summer just to find green grass.

"They got to pick and pick and pick and pick just to get anything," Boone said.

So, he takes a bucket, fills it with feed and essentially pours out all his profits.

It's so bad, he's considering selling some of the herd. There's nothing wrong with the cows he considered taking to the livestock auction. Boone just can't afford to feed them.

"If I wait too long to sell them, nobody around here is going to be able to feed them," Boone said.

But while discussing the drought, our interview was interrupted by the very thing Boone prayed for: rain.

"He knows what we need," Boone said, referring to answered prayers.

But how much is enough?

"It needs to set in and do this all week," Boone said.

For this farmer, any amount of rain provides relief and hope.

Boone said what makes matters worse, he lives in Fredonia and he said the drought has been worse there because his farm started drying up in March. What little rain we've had in our viewing area somehow skipped his farm.

Local 6 asked if the government ever steps in to help in a really bad year. He said back in 2007, he did get some help from the state after a really bad year but it was only $150, not nearly enough.

While Boone holds out hope for more rain, forecasts for the rest of the month call for below average precipitation. July and August are typically the driest months in our region.