Mid-South farmers feeling the heat in drought-like conditions

Crittenden County farmer spends $25,000 a week on diesel fuel
Published: Jul. 6, 2022 at 9:10 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 7, 2022 at 5:53 AM CDT
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CRITTENDEN CO., Ark. (WMC) -It’s been a hard, hot summer for farmers in the Mid-South.

“We haven’t had rain on this field since May 24th,” Danny Daughhetee.

Danny Daughhetee, who’s been farming in Crittenden County for over 35 years, says this growing season has been especially hard for his land.

“For the last 3 years we haven’t really had to start irrigating our beans and corn until about the middle of July,” Daughhetee said as he looked at the dry, dusty field that should be crawling with green soybean stalks by this time of year.

“But since June 10 we have some wells that haven’t been shut off yet.”

That’s over 25 days of nonstop irrigation. Something Daughhetee says he typically only does for his crops once every two weeks.

That irrigation, which uses diesel fuel to run, is hitting him right where it hurts.

“We’re paying $5.50 a gallon for it,” of which his farm goes through 8,000 gallons every 10 days, “we’re spending about $25,000 a week on fuel.”

Sam Epstein Angel III, the chairman for the Arkansas Agriculture Board says the price to consumers will sting, but at the end of the day farmers are the ones who take it the hardest.

“We’re doing our best to make up for the drought in irrigation, but it can never make up for what Mother Nature can provide in rainfall,” said Angel.

Meanwhile, back at D.L.D. Farms in Crittenden County, Daughhetee is looking up from the dustbowl that his soybean field has turned into. Hoping for rain, and a little help from the man upstairs.

“I’m praying,” Daughhetee said. “I just hope I can come close to breaking even this year.”

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