Deputy Agriculture Secretary makes a stop in Southwest Georgia
Mon, 23 Jul 2012 16:50:42 GMT —
U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan made the trip to Georgia to gauge just how bad the drought
situation really is - and what she found isn't promising.
"We see that the dry-land crops are not doing well, we see a lot of weed intrusion, we see some land that people are just saying it's not going to happen here," said Merrigan.
Merrigan took us to the peanut farm of Wilbon Greggs whose non-irrigated 72-acre plot is facing abandonment if the next two weeks don't show considerable levels of rain.
"If it starts raining we still have a chance to produce a crop of peanuts, but the rain has to come right away," said Greggs.
Greggs crops would see a big difference in size and quantity if the land was irrigated but Merrigan says that's not the only answer.
"The water level is way down, the aquifers are not recharging and this is particularly tough when it's cumulative year after year. So irrigation is not a complete solution to the situation because you have to have the water to irrigate."
This issue has reached a level that requires government action and Merrigan says Washington has taken multiple steps to combat the drought - but they need to implement a Farm Bill for some real progress to be made.
"Within the toolbox that we have we are doing the best we can but that's no substitute for having a farm bill and we need congress to act now," said Merrigan.
For now, farmers are gambling with their livelihood and the odds are not in their favor.
"All years are not perfect. You never know what the future holds, so we're just going to take a chance, just taking a chance," said Greggs.