Tuesday, May 01, 2007


The drought here in Georgia is the worse it has been in almost 100 years -- worse than the droughts that destroyed farmers and crops in the 1930's. South Georgia is 18 inches of rain low; Atlanta is 9 inches low. The ground is dry as dust.

We had a really late freeze that destroyed the blooms on the peach, apple and pecan trees, and that actually may be a good thing as that means the trees won't have to expend water and energy on fruit, but can conserve resources for their own survival. The little "truck gardens" that supply a lot of the fresh vegetables around are suffering, meaning that those farmers are suffering. Cotton, peanuts, soybeans, cabbage, squash, green beans, alfalfa, tomatoes, onions (Vidalia), you name it. It's going to be a loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

And the fires down south -- they are the largest wildfires ever in Georgia. They are burning the swamp down there, but also burning 20 year old stands of pulpwood -- another cash crop in Georgia that takes a LONG time to renew. A good soaking rain would put them out, but they have been burning for almost 2 weeks.

Combine all this with the high price of gasoline (almost $3.00 a gallon for the cheapest unleaded), it's going to be pricey to import fruits and vegetables, as well. Peanut butter prices will go up; dairy prices will go up because they will have to import hay and feed or butcher the cattle.

This is going to put some of these farmers under. They may have farms worth millions of dollars, but they also have tremendous debt. They need the proceeds from the crops to make payments on mortgages, equipment and so on. One by one small farmers are going to be forced out.

Most Americans do not live in harmony with the land anymore. Ancient Israel understood these pressures and stress. This kind of year makes one appreciate the years of drought and famine described in the Old Testament.

Please pray for rain.

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