Drought or Rain, Farmers Still Pay

By: Jarrod Aldom
By: Jarrod Aldom

Extreme seasons are making life rough on the farming community. The severe drought conditions of last year and the harsh winter are costing them big. But, it might be to your advantage.

The drought from last year has come and gone. But it's led to problems this year, causing a hay shortage. Steve Saufley said soon it will be time for area farmers to make a choice.

"A lot of people will have to make the decision whether they have to sell their livestock or keep their livestock due to the price of hay," said Saufley. "Because of that, there will probably be a lot more livestock on the market."

You might expect a drought would mean higher prices for consumers. Not so. More livestock on the market means lower prices for meat buyers. And that might mean lower prices for meat for you. Even if hay costs more for the farmers, the cost is not passed.

"The farmer has to bear the brunt of that because it doesn't matter how much I pay for that hay," said Saufley. "I will still take whatever the market will bring me when I sell those animals."

The excessive snow and rain of this year can cause other problems as well. Cows can't graze very well on grass that is covered by snow or flooded. And they already lack some nutrients from the poor hay yield of last year, making the grass more important. Otherwise farmers pay more to put supplements in the feed grain.

"If we would have a weather break, and it would suddenly warm up, that would help the producers, the animal producers especially," said Saufley.

Saufley does not expect the heavy snow to delay planting season. Even if it did, a big percentage of the crops would need to be affected for you to see any price differences in the store.

50 North Main Street Harrisonburg, VA 22801 540-433-9191 - Switchboard 540-433- 4028 - Fax 540-433-2700 - News Fax

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