Drought could bring South Georgia economic disaster - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Drought could bring South Georgia economic disaster

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 August 14, 2006

Randolph County -- Agriculture researchers fear the drought will mean a double disaster in South Georgia.   The lack of rain is hurting many crops, and the farmer's income loss could mean hard times for the entire region.

Georgia farmers planted the smallest peanut crop since 1915, and the drought will cut back on the yields for the three big money crops in Southwest Georgia, peanuts, corn, and cotton.

High fuel and power costs have made running irrigation more expensive. Some farmers might pay out more to try to produce a crop than they will get paid for it. USDA Research Leader Marshall Lamb said "Farmers have had to carry peanuts, corn, and cotton almost the entire summer with these high production costs, it's going to be a significant economic disaster for a lot of growers at the end of the year. "

 Agriculture is Georgia's number one industry, so a lack of income by most of its producers will mean less money at stores and businesses.

Lamb says with the high fuel costs, many farmers will have to decide if they will take the chance to plant again next spring.

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