The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

August 23, 2013

Brief reprieve from drought

By Amy Kent Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald

---- — CLINTON — Nothing can spoil a bright summer day quite like an unexpected rain shower or thunderstorm, but for some Midwestern residents, those showers bring fortitude and prosperity to their lives.

Area farmers rely heavily on regular summer precipitation but when those rains don’t come as often as they hope, issues arise and livelihoods hang in the balance.

“When we don’t grow a big crop around here it affects everyone,” Iowa Farm Bureau President Joe Dierckx said. “It doesn’t matter if we raise the cost, nothing times something is still nothing.”

August is typically a strong month for area farmers because of high temperatures and heavy rainfall, but to this point, the month has only recorded 1.07 inches of precipitation, more than 2 inches less than average.

Farmers did see a glimmer of hope on Thursday though, after scattered afternoon showers gave their crops a little revitalization after many dry days, but Dierckx said the area would need to see substantial rainfall to get the crops where he would like them to be.

“We got about a tenth of an inch (Thursday) which is not nearly enough, especially with the heat we have coming,” Dierckx said.

National Weather Service metiorologist Terry Simmons confirmed the heat wave saying that temperatures will most likely reach the high 90s by sometime next week.

She also said that it will be at least another seven days before the area could see any more rainfall.

“There’s a heat wave coming and it will be hot and humid with no projected rainfall for the area,” Simmons said.

Although that’s bad news for local farmers, Dierckx said he is not too worried about a corn shortage for consumers this year.

According to the Farm Bureau, farmers nationwide have planted a substantial amount of corn crop this year because of consumer demand.

“Lots of people grew corn this year which is a good thing,” Dierckx said. “It’s just not going to be as bountiful a yield as we had hoped for.”

As the final harvest of the season quickly approaches, Dierckx and other members of the farm bureau can only sit back and hope for consistent rain, warm weather and a late killing frost of the season.

“It’s not been as bright a looking picture as we had hoped for at the end of July but we’re still not as bad as we were last year,” Dierckx said. “The crop has held in there pretty good so far so we just wait and see. But, there will be some corn that will disappoint some people that’s for sure.”