Bootheel farmers react to being in one of country's driest areas - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Bootheel farmers react to being in one of country's driest areas

He said some fields have not seen a full single inch of rain all season. He said some fields have not seen a full single inch of rain all season.
The rest is surviving, but with no help from Mother Nature. The rest is surviving, but with no help from Mother Nature.
DUNKLIN COUNTY, MO (KFVS) -

More than half of U.S. counties are now classified by the federal government as natural disaster areas because of the drought.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday added 218 counties in a dozen states as disaster areas. That brings this year's total to 1,584 in 32 states, more than 90% of them because of the drought.

Recent rainfall is still not enough to lift the Heartland out of drought conditions. While some of you got some moisture in the last few days, others remain dry as a bone.

According to the National Weather Service, and locally gathered rainfall amounts, the bootheel appears to be the most cheated by Mother Nature this summer. 

Extreme drought conditions continue in some areas where only one to two inches of rain has fallen since early spring or late winter.

In most counties, only the irrigated crops will survive.

Ask most farmers to describe this season in one word, and they'd likely say... "Expensive".

That's Rick Branch's response. He farms in Gideon.

"I'm gonna say since mid-February we have probably only hit the 2 inch mark," said Branch.  "The dry land is toast."

The rest is surviving, but with no help from Mother Nature.

"We had to water everything to get it up," said Branch. 

"Every inch of moisture has been from irrigation water," said Gerald Malin, Junior. 

The Campbell farmer is growing weary. "It's getting old after awhile," said Malin. 

Sam Atwell with the University of Missouri Extension in New Madrid County says he's never seen anything like it.

"It's the worst I've experienced in my 40 some years," said Sam Atwell-Agronomy Specialist.

He said some fields have not seen a full single inch of rain all season.

"We're like desert conditions, have been watering from the get go," said Atwell.

Atwell considers recent requests coming in from cattle farmers out west pretty unusual as well. These ranchers are requesting burned up crops which would normally not be harvested. The crops would be salvaged to possibly feed livestock.

"It's making something out of nothing," said Atwell. 

After last year's flooding farmers just hope the third time's a charm.

"Mother Nature has thrown us another curve at us, may next be next year will be normal," said Atwell. 

Copyright 2012 KFVS. All rights reserved.

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