Farmers deal with severe drought

By Yvette Yeon - bio | email

HANOVER COUNTY, VA (WWBT) - Despite Thursday's storms, drought conditions have gone from moderate to severe in some locations. The "National Drought Monitor" points to New Kent County, Charles City County and eastern Hanover as agriculturally the driest in the state.

For Hanover farmer Kenneth Ray Kirby, it's been a frustrating crop year. By June, Kirby knew he was going to lose big with his corn.

On average an acre of corn would get him about 125 bushels. Kirby expects just about 5 bushels per acre this year and with hundreds of acres under his name it's a major loss.

"It is [devastating], we have crop insurance, but it doesn't pay the whole bill by any means. You just got to have faith that next year will be better," said Kirby.

Kirby's loss is also affecting those of us who buy regional produce. The local farmer's market on Pole Green Road in Hanover is managing to stay busy with customers, but things are running out fast.

"We're having a hard time getting butter beans all up and down the eastern shore," said farmer's market employee, Faye Ward

Butter beans, tomatoes, and string beans, Ward says the list gets longer every week.

"We're not getting as much produce as you'd normally get if we had more rain," she said.

Like many other farmers Kirby is counting on his farmer's insurance to cover some of the bills. He says insurance will cover the fertilizer, equipment, and some of the rent...but that's about it.

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.