Dry conditions affect some farmers more than others

Updated: Jul. 29, 2020 at 2:10 PM EDT
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TOWN OF PAMELIA, N.Y. (WWNY) - The state has declared a drought watch in the north country. We checked in with local farmers to see how they’re handling it.

You know what they say: you reap what you sow. That is unless Mother Nature gets in the way.

“The corn crop, some are looking really nice, some are looking really pathetic, we have some of both here,” said Stanley Horning, Country Cousins Farm owner.

The dry weather is hitting some farmers harder than others in the north country.

In Lewis County, most farmers will tell you crops are doing fine with the occasional drink of rain showers.

“Our gardens are doing really good. Right now we seem to be getting rain when we need it,” said Shari Simmons, Simmons Farm owner.

But in St. Lawrence County, most farmers will tell you their crops are dry as a bone.

Country Cousins Farm in Jefferson County is experiencing a little of both.

“Just because our farm might look pretty good, 2-3 miles down the river it seems it’s quite different,” said Horning.

The easiest way to tell how a corn crop is doing is by looking at the leaves. Some show signs of curling, where the leaves move inward to try to retain moisture.

“The dry weather in the spring was nice because we were able to get into the fields early, but now we’re paying the price because we’ve got no moisture to keep crops coming along,” said Horning.

When crops like hay and corn get too dry, they yield less. If low yields continue, it could mean a shortage of food for the animals.

“There’s gonna be farms that are gonna be really searching for feed,” said Horning.

So is there anything they can do at the mercy of Mother Nature?

“There’s not much they can do except hope for rain,” said Jefferson County Agricultural Coordinator Jay Matteson.

While the state doesn’t have mandatory water use restrictions under a watch or warning, officials urge people to conserve water as much as possible.

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