Georgia drought hitting farmers hard; Meat, produce affected - CBS46 News

Georgia drought hitting farmers hard; Meat, produce affected

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WGCL WGCL
DALLAS, GA (CBS46) -

For a farmer, every drop counts in a drought. Just ask Ken Cook of Spreading Oaks Farm in Paulding County.

Anything further than a foot from the plant doesn't get watered.

He gets his water from a well, so in times of drought, he doesn't have to pay the county for extra. But he knows other farmers who aren't so lucky.

"...I think she's saying her water bill is up to $1,000 a month. That's extreme to me."

One of the Georgia crops getting hit the hardest this year is the sweet potato, and just in time for Thanksgiving.

"They need the moisture at the end of their growing cycle to make a nice potato," said Cook.

Because of that, he said we're likely to see lower supply and higher prices on any vegetable with a harvest season between October and November. But farmers say it's not the plant crops that will likely see the most impact in this drought. It's the livestock and the animals.

Even farmers with access to wells don't have enough water to keep entire fields of pasture green. That means the animals have nothing to eat.

"We're out of any kind of grass for them to forage on, so we have to supplement them with hay here in November," said Cook.

Usually farmers can make it to the winter before they have to buy hay. The ones who can't afford it will end up sending the animals to slaughter. Cook thinks beef prices will go down in the short term, as everyone is selling off their livestock, but by next year the lower supply will drive prices up.

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DROUGHT IN GEORGIA
BY THE NUMBERS

Days without measurable rainfall

40+ days

Acres burned in Georgia

~33,000

Population in drought areas

8.7 million