The Drought is Back for Farmers - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

The Drought is Back for Farmers

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ECHO, LA.- We experienced a severe drought here in CenLa for much of 2011. The beginning of this year brought us a lot of rainfall....but now the sizzling summer heat is switching things up. News Channel 5's Rachael Penton reports.

As the temperatures continue to rise it's obvious that we're in the peak of summer...and that means CenLa is rich with locally grown farm fresh produce.

"Tomatoes, squash, zucchini, snap beans, okra, watermelons, cantaloupes."

But for farmer Ricky Dupuy, this summer's high heat has brought more than just vegetables--it's brought problems along with them.

"The tomatoes are very good. The snap beans are finished on account of the drought," says Dupuy.

While this past winter did bring some relief in the way of rainfall to Louisiana, experts say the drought is back!

"But in the last three or four months we have been abnormally dry, below the normal amount of rainfall that we usually get and on June 26 we entered into what we call a D1 stage drought which is a moderate drought for the area," says Matt Gwin, County Director of the Farm Service Agency.

And while there's plenty of produce right now at Kalz Produce Barn in Echo...they're worried about their local farmer friends and what it might mean for business.

"Well it puts us having to look elsewhere you know for the produce and we really like to help out our local farmers, but in a case like that it puts you having to look for it further," says owner Wanda Jeansonne.

Although business has been good since opening in March, they say if the drought continues the price of produce could go up.

"We try not to raise our prices. You know, we try not to. We try to accommodate you know in other means, in other ways, but sometimes yes we do have to," says Jeansonne.

Dupuy says while he has been able to cope with the drought so far...others aren't so lucky.

""I got an irrigation system. I've been irrigating and stuff. the local farmers a lot of them ain't got no irrigation system and it's been hurting them a whole lot."

He says all there is left to do now is wish for one thing....

"I hope it rains (laughter)."

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