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Some farmers praying for rain as crops dry up

Updated: May. 21, 2021 at 6:34 PM EDT
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DINWIDDIE COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - While many in Central Virginia may be enjoying the warmer weather, there are some who are desperately praying for rain.

Many farmers have reported drought-like conditions in the fields due to the lack of rain.

For Dinwiddie County farmer Jason Barnes, some of his fields are bone dry; it left him having to replant crops he just planted a few weeks ago.

“Right here is the first planting which is not much left, they died,” Barnes said. “We went back and replanted the second time, so these are new plants.”

Tobacco is one of the major crops Barnes plants every year.

“We also do peanuts, corn, soybeans, wheat,” he added.

However, this week, he had to stop planting.

“There’s the peanut right there sitting in dry dirt,” Barnes said.

Mainly because of mother nature’s lack of rain.

“It’s been no more than a half an inch in the last seven weeks,” he said. “Some places, just 1/10th.”

To find adequate soil moisture, Barnes must dig at least five inches into the dirt. The farmer of 16-years said this has been the driest spring in several years, and it is impacting not only his crops but his livelihood.

“At the end of the day, if we don’t do good, everyone below us doesn’t do good,” he said.

But Barnes is focused on a solution; however small - compared to mother nature - it may be.

“You can’t grow a crop from start to finish with irrigation, but it’s a helping hand,” he said. “You pray to the Lord this will get you going until you will get rainfall.”

Meanwhile, Barnes is not alone.

“I’ve gotten phone calls from farmer friends from as far as South Carolina and they’re going through the same thing; the east and west,” he said.

As he kicks up dust in the field, Barnes looks to the horizon.

“If we can get substantial rainfall in the next 10-12 days, we’ll still be okay to produce a crop,” he said.

NBC12 meteorologists say there is a minimal chance for rain over the next seven days.

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