Drought conditions beginning to affect Gloucester-Mathews farmers

by Bill Nachman - Posted on Jun 08, 2011 - 04:49 PM

Drought is beginning to take its toll on some local farms and things could get worse if significant rainfall is not received soon, said veteran farmer Charles Rich of Adner, a member of the local Farm Service Agency Committee.

When fields get as dry as they are now, Rich said, it takes more than a few pop-up showers or a heavy thunderstorm to ease the field conditions. He said that a heavy rain often mostly runs off the surface of the hardened soil, whereas a softer, steady rain that lasts for hours can help ease the drought-like conditions.

The severe shortage of rainfall in the region is unusual for this time of year, Rich said, noting it’s something that might be seen in July or August. Rich should know, since he’s been farming local fields since 1967.

Recently, Rich said he recorded 0.3’’ on a gauge, while barely a drop fell about a mile away near Pampa. Also, he said a fellow farmer in Mathews recently recorded just over one inch of rain, while another farmer friend elsewhere in Mathews received hardly any.