Hurt in the Heat of a Drought - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Hurt in the Heat of a Drought

August 10, 2006

Terrell County - You don't have to be a farmer to know how dry it's been this summer, but farmers may feel the heat a little more than others. Some crops are complete losses and there is little hope for others. Now, Governor Perdue is asking the federal Government to step in and help. For 48 years, Wilbur Gamble has farmed this land. But not even in that time, almost half a century, has he seen a cotton crop this bad.  He says, "I've never ever had cotton that was old that I didn't harvest. This is the first time ever."

He planted about 100 acres of cotton in this field about three months ago. It isn't irrigated and it shows. "I had the best prospect in middle of May I ever had in cotton," says Gamble, "but it never rained, we never had any rain here."

So now, he's pulling it up.  Not harvesting, but harrowing. There's no point in saving a crop that will cost more to pick than the profit. And he's not the only one.  He says, "I would say in Terrell County there's going to be several thousand acres."

To help farmers, Governor Perdue is asking the federal government to step in by providing low-interest loans to farmers, but Gamble says that may not be the answer.  Gamble says, "At least it will be a low interest loan, but that ain't really what a fella needs is another loan. It's kind of like credit cards, the last thing you need, if you owe about your limit, is to put more on your credit cards."

He's says there needs to be a disaster relief program that will pay farmers a percentage of what they lost, but something is better than nothing, because, "All crops got hurt." Hurt in the heat of a drought.

Wilbur Gamble says irrigation systems are so expensive to run because of diesel prices that even many farmers who have them won't make much of a profit.

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