Farmer says drought will lead to 40% less income


(NewsNation) — Dire drought conditions in several states have created difficulties for farmers, some of whom have only been able to plant a portion of what they normally do in a given season.

Jason Flowers is a fourth-generation farmer in Oregon who grows grass, hay, alfalfa, oats, barley and wheat.

Oregon is currently seeing drought conditions across the state because of rain deficits in the winter, according to The Register-Guard newspaper. The U.S. Drought Monitor report shows nearly 90% of Oregon is facing a drought.

It’s an issue Flowers dealt with last year, when he had to cut 40% of his normal acreage. This year, he predicts more of the same.

“That cuts your production by 40%,” Flowers said. “That, in turn, cuts your income by 40%, which makes it hard to move on to the next year.”

Even when Flowers was able to get irrigation, extreme heat from last June also decreased his yields.

To deal with drought, Flowers said in some areas they just won’t raise anything on the land. He does have a supplemental well on the property to cover some ground, but mostly, Flowers said, it’s about budgeting light.

This isn’t always possible with some fixed costs, though, he added.

“You got mortgage payments and equipment payments and stuff like that,” Flowers said. “And those come every year regardless, regardless of how tight you budget.”

All of this caused it to be a very stressful start of the year for Flowers. Combined with inflation making fertilizer and fuel prices skyrocket, “It makes for some sleepless nights and just a lot of stress.”

“You hope that you can raise a good enough crop and get enough water to be able to pay the bills at the end of the season,” Flowers said.

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