Crops are in critical shape for some farmers following summer drought

Crops are in critical shape for some farmers following summer drought

FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - This summer's drought has caused such a problem for local farmers that more than 30 counties in South Carolina are under a primary state of emergency.

"Hay has probably been our biggest impact to start with. Typically, some of the cut-ins we would have got… 60 to 70 bales of hay going across once. To start with… the drought has caused us to get 18 to 20 going across the first time," Grant Lyerly, County Relationships Manager with Arbor One Farm Credit said.

It doesn't stop there. Across the Pee Dee farmers said corn has taken the biggest hit this year.

Lyerly is a farmer and also works for Arbor One Farm Credit. Not only has he personally seen the effect the drought has caused, but through his work he has seen its impact on the farming community.

"The yield off of the crops are effected. Think about soybeans, with it so dry a lot of people were not able to plant in time so you have some fields just not planted," Lyerly said.

To help those farmers who have lost, the United States Department of Agriculture is offering low special interest loans after parts of our area were declared a primary State of Emergency.

"They have to be unable to get credit elsewhere. From a regular credit sources that make agricultural loans. We can't compete with conventional lenders for loans," William Shelley, farm loan manager for the USDA said.

Shelley said the loans being given are not just because we are seeing a drought this summer.

Shelley said there is a bigger problem facing our farmers.

"Well the big problem is in our commodity prices. Compared to the cost it takes farmers to produce the commodities," Shelley said.

Shelley said what this boils down to is the fact that back in 2012 a bushel of corn was worth $7 to $8, but now it's only worth $3.80.

Back up at Lyerly's farm, he said that a lot of people think crop insurance protects farmers during times of loss.

"A lot of people think that it's just going to help them be ok, but in reality it will help with some of the input costs but once you get toward your term payments like on equipment, real estate and some of those items…. It's a big struggle for farmers," Lyerly said.

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