Farmers and Ranchers Take a Hit from Drought Conditions in Parts of the South

Cameron McWhirter reported in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal that, “Severe drought is hitting parts of the South, even as North Carolina and Louisiana experienced historic flooding this year.

“Although the drought has spared some major agricultural sectors, including the area’s large poultry industry, it has left livestock and hay producers scrambling.

“Ranchers raising more than 2.35 million cattle and calves in Alabama and Georgia, out of about 92 milllion nationwide, expect major losses. Hay production, valued in 2015 at about $369 million in those two states, could drop significantly.”

The Journal article noted that, “The drought—covering parts of Tennessee, Mississippi and the Carolinas in addition to Georgia and Alabama—has scorched pasture land, hurting cattle herds and farms across the region.”

Graph From The Wall Street Journal

“Some cattle ranchers here, including 58-year-old David Bailey, are selling off herds to cut expenses. ‘I have never been so stressed and aged,’ said Mr. Bailey, who also raises chickens.”

Saturday’s article added that, “Cotton, peanuts and other row crops have seen lower yields in drought areas, especially on nonirrigated land, said Jeffrey Harvey, the Georgia Farm Bureau’s legislative director.”

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