Cattle farmers worried as ground begins to dry out

Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 4:47 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SHARP COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) - The dry conditions are affecting many farmers in Northeast Arkansas.

Whether you’re a cattle farmer or a row crop farmer, the word drought is probably in the front of your mind.

The USDA Drought Monitor was updated Thursday, June 1, and showed a large part of NEA to be in the D0 or an “abnormally dry” condition.

Many farmers say they’re now seeing characteristics of last year’s drought the longer we go without rain.

“You’re starting to see the cattle when they’re walking. Dust is coming up behind them. We are starting to see it trend that way,” said Randolph County Farmer Chris Fort.

Conditions in Sharp County are about the same as in Randolph County.

“It’s beginning to be concerning right now. The lack of water. The ponds have come down nearly 50%,” said Sharp County Farmer Bob Murphy.

Last year’s drought caused many farmers to make sacrifices, like feeding hay much earlier than usual.

Murphy said the dry conditions forced him to cut numbers in his cattle operation.

“We cut down on the cattle numbers. Cows will drink around 15 gallons of water a day, and you multiply that over a few hundred cows, that’s a lot of water.”

Fort said even though the last few years haven’t been great for farmers, it’s something he has to deal with.

“I’m too much invested in this. Like I say, we’re the third generation here. We’re not going nowhere. The best thing I can do is do the best management practices I can and try to wait out the storm, or hopefully, a storm will come.”

The drought monitor accepts drought reports from those affected by conditions.