NC Commissioner Troxler: Drought Conditions Affecting Crops

Abnormally dry weather conditions are combining with hot temperatures to wreak havoc on corn and other crops. With 99 counties experiencing extended dry conditions, the state desperately needs a good, soaking rain.

  • Nearly all of our state is experiencing hot and abnormally dry conditions which has farmers worried as these conditions take a toll on corn and some other crops.
  • We desperately need some good steady rain to bring some relief.
  • The U.S. Drought Monitor lists 57 counties as being in moderate drought conditions and 42 North Carolina counties as being “abnormally dry.”  
  • Cherokee County in the far west is the only county not included in this list.
  • Agriculture is definitely feeling the effects.
  • I am hearing reports that the combination of high temperatures plus long stretches between rain is actually making conditions worse than even the Drought Monitor indicates.
  • Corn is a major crop of concern. Farmers I have talked to say they are expecting significant losses on their corn crops.
  • Other crops we are watching closely include produce, tobacco, soybeans, hay, sweet potatoes and pastures. The degree of stress on these crops varies across counties and how long it has been between rains.
  • I empathize with growers because I know firsthand the stress and worry they are going through.
  • When you farm, you know the unpredictability of the weather is something you will have to manage as best as you can.
  • But, I’ve been there myself, looking at dried up fields and withering crops. Hoping you don’t run out of water for whatever crops you can irrigate. And, praying every day that some rain is on its way to provide some relief.
  • It’s a difficult place to be because you already know what you have invested and you are quite literally watching your livelihood disappear row by row.
  • What’s especially hard to swallow is that this year’s corn crop seemed to be off to a very promising start.
  • But weeks without rain has changed that outlook.
  • One of our regional agronomists in the central part of the state reported that some fields were so bad than no amount of rain would save the corn crop.  
  • We are continuing to closely monitor crops and update our federal and state partners as additional information comes in.
  • Conditions like this are the reason we always want to make sure risk management is a priority in the federal Farm Bill.
  • If you have farmed for any period of time, you know we have good years and bad years. And the bad years will kill you.
  • That is why we need strong federal farm programs in place to help mitigate losses in these bad years and help farmers weather through these tough times.
  • I encourage farmers who are experiencing losses to be sure you are documenting those with photographs and share the conditions of your crops with your local FSA Office and insurance agent.

For consumers, I urge you to keep buying local and supporting our farmers. They really need us now as they go through these difficult times.