Farmers face harsh drought

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HOWARD COUNTY - Every Tuesday and Friday on the corner of East Morrison Street in Fayette, Ray Ferguson and his granddaughter can be seen selling peaches, watermelons, tomatoes and more. Ferguson has been doing this for nearly a decade, but this year's long winter and widespread drought has put a strain on his produce.

"We've got some fair crops in places, but most all of them have been hurt," Ferguson said.

According to a UM study, Howard County's annual rainfall is down almost 13 inches from the long-term average. Combined with a short spring that didn't allow for a lengthy growth period, Ferguson says corn is taking the hardest hit this summer, and lifelong farmer Jerome Thies agrees. 

"It started out real dry and a lot of it didn't come up evenly, and now the last part that came up is not going to produce very good," Thies said.

Several of Thies' crops did manage to succeed, but he says some of his corn didn't even manage to form ears. However, he is not too worried. 

"This is my whole income, but at my age, I'm 73 years old. I'll survive."

For now, both Thies and Ferguson say there's not much to do.

"We just have to wait it out," Ferguson said.

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