Heat, drought impacts local farmers


Wow it’s hot! Temperatures continue to top out in the upper 90s with heat indices climbing well above 100 degrees. -Wayne Ruple

Wow it’s hot! Temperatures continue to top out in the upper 90s with heat indices climbing well above 100 degrees. -Wayne Ruple

With a heat wave hanging over most of the nation and temperatures zooming upward to 100 on local thermometers, farmers here hope the next dark cloud will bring the all important rain.

Extension County Agent Dan Porch recently told The Blount Countian that lack of rain has “impacted all row crops – we didn’t get rain when we needed it,” he said.

Porch said the peach crop was not impacted but vegetables could use some water along with all row crops.

He said some areas of the county has suffered more than others due to the spotty showers and what thunderstorms have rolled across the area in the past weeks.

“It’s not too late for corn. We will have a fairly good crop,” Porch noted. “We could use some more rain. I thought we would get something off that last hurricane, but it was a no show here. Water is really critical,” he said.

One area in the county really needing rain is Blountsville according to Porch. Other areas include along Hwys 278, 75 and the Snead area.

While other areas of the county are also suffering and some have seen a little rain, “its not a major loss, not a major event” he explained. “We are in a slight drought.”

Blount County is the number two producer of peaches and tomatoes in the state and row crops among the top 10-15. “we have about 400 to 500 acres in peanuts and 500 to 600 in tomatoes,” Porch explained. “Cattle, hay and pasture land comes in among the top ten.”

With a heat index soaring over 110 degrees Tuesday, it marked one of the hottest days this area has seen in the past seven years according to local meteorologists.