Farmers Desperate For Rain

In south Georgia, Buddy Talle has an old pump, and a new problem. "I've never seen it this dry, this early in the year," says Talle.

It's bone dry in cornfields and hay fields. And worse still in peanut fields, because these crops are at their most delicate stage and need the most water now. By the weekend, a year's work could be wasted.

"It just looks bleak," Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin said Tuesday at a news conference with U.S. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Gus Schumacher.

The federal government has just mailed $85 million dollars in disaster relief checks to farmers across Georgia for last year's drought. But Irvin said that if more rainfall doesn't come the state's way farmers stand to have a worse year this year than last year. "Our hands are tied right now, there is no way to make a profit," says one farmer. "If we don't get rain this week or next, it's over with."

Meteorologists say it's all La Nina related - the weather pattern that's causing a drought in the South and Mid-Atlantic states.

In Maryland, the soil is as dry as cement. "We're gonna lose some farms if we don't get some rain," says one farmer.

The word from Washington is that the rainfall deficit will continue into fall or early winter.

But Buddy Talle's old irrigation system won't last that long. It leaks where it shouldn't and only spits water where it should. "I'm thinking real serious about becoming a small garden farmer," he says.

Soon, after 40 years in farming, he may not have a choice.

  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

Comments