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Drought continues throughout nation; no rain recorded in county last week

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By Steve Moore

As I write this on Monday afternoon, hopes are high for some much-needed rain to be pushed into the area as a result of a Tropical Storm to the south.  While no rain has been observed at the office, I’ve been on the phone with two farmers in the Lacie and Turners Station area who reported rain.  The Lacie farmer had been caught out in the field in a rain that quit as soon as he was wet. 

In a quick check of the CoCoRHS rain reporting system for Henry County last week, I find that most of the county received absolutely no rain last week.  Three stations (New Castle, Eminence, and Lockport) caught about two tenths of an inch.  In the continued high temperatures, the entire County is looking noticeably drier.

Is there any place in the country receiving adequate rainfall?  I can say from my trip last week to upstate New York, near the Vermont state line, that the good dairy farming region there looks to be harvesting some nice alfalfa and grass hay, and the corn silage crop looks great.  All in all, everything had a good green color now missing from our Henry County landscape. 

In New York state to visit my daughter Sarah and Son-in-Law Billy Rankin, I was treated to a special tour of Washington County.   With some broad valleys stretching between some of the ‘foothills’ of the Adirondack Mountains, it was apparent that this area had been home to good farming and good dairying for many generations.  Our tour guide was a young daughter-in-law in one of the established dairy families.

She informed me that the family dairy had created a ‘value-added’ component for their milking operation just a few years back.  They developed a cheese making operation (Argyle Cheese Farmer) and are now marketing their milk in less perishable forms through farmers markets, the internet, and local and regional stores.    While they have differed in rainfall this year, it appears that the issues farmers face there are very similar to issues we face here.   Land use policies, right to farm, diversification, value added enterprises, local food economy, animal welfare issues and other topics are all in the conversation, with many livelihoods depending on the careful consideration of each issue.   It was a real treat to discuss and see the differences and similarities in our rural areas.