It's raining today but that does not mean the drought is over for farmers. I always thought that New England was safe from drought but not so this year.
We spend about $30,000 a year on hay but this year we'll spend more. The pasture on my farm has dried up so I'm feeding hay to some of my cattle now. That means that I'll have to buy more hay to get through the winter.
The Farm Service Administration is offering a drought relief program which includes low interest loans but for some farmers that won't be enough. Dairy farmers are not only hard hit by the drought but commodity milk prices are down so dairy farmers are now getting paid less than it costs to produce milk. Not only are dairy farmers scrambling for hay, they are getting paid less for their milk.
Even with the rain today, farmers won't be helped much. Grass won't grow a lot this late in the summer. Miles Smith Farm is fortunate in that we stockpiled some pastures which means we did not graze them earlier in the year. Once the cattle have eaten our stockpiled grass we will have to feed them hay.
Rain now would help with next year's crop and lots of snow would help even more. So let's not give up. Let's hope this drought ends soon and hope that our government helps farmers get by. Meanwhile help a farmer! Drink more milk; eat more locally raised beef. If the government doesn't help at least you can.