LAURENS COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Farmers in Laurens County are praying for rain amid a drought that they say is draining them financially.
Hay sales have been through the roof at Verdin’s Farm and Garden.
“It’s going to be tough to find hay when we need it later on,” said Store Manager Whitson Verdin.
“I think this is about the shortest I’ve ever been on hay going into the winter,” said Paul Wilkie, a farmer.
Wilkie has run Bar W Ranch since 1980. He says the little rainfall, this summer, is killing the pasture grass and that’s going to drive up the cost of feeding livestock.
“And the other big thing is cows with young calves, they are just not getting enough nourishment,” he told 7News. “We have to supplement feed for that.”
Wilkie is trying to figure out how to make up the financial hit he will take.
“As far as the farm goes, I’ll be selling more cattle this year,” Wilkie said.
He’s not the only farmer dipping into the winter supply.
“That means we will be purchasing additional feedstuff to make it through the winter, which cuts into our bottom line.” Newberry farmer Doug Huydt told 7News.
While the demand for hay is high, Verdin says seed sales are hurting.
“We normally would have sold twice the amount of seed as we have by now,” said Verdin. “It’s a lot of money just sitting in the warehouse.”
The store has taken a nearly $8,000 dollar financial hit. Verdin says farmers aren’t planting new crops because of the lack of rain.
The drought is currently affecting 76 percent of South Carolina, according to the US Drought Portal.
“Anybody that did plant 2 months ago, they’ve just been sitting there dry now for 2 and a half months,” Verdin told 7News.
In a statement to 7News, the Department of Agriculture says the state is in a severe agricultural drought.
“So we pray for rain, every day it’s a day closer,” Huydt said.
The National Agricultural Statistic Service in South Carolina says despite the high temperatures and little rain the crop progress went up since last week.
The South Carolina Department of Agriculture is urging farmers to report drought conditions. Click here for more information.