Small farms struggle in heat wave

By Bob Hallmark - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - The summer heat wave is taking its toll on small east Texas farmers, who don't have the resources that bigger farms have and can only watch their crops roast in the summer sun. Whole fields of crops baking in the heat, small farmers have done their best, but no amount of watering has helped.

"We're very disappointed" said one Smith county farmer.

"All the hard work that goes into it and there's nothing to show for it" said Linda Stafford who works a small Wood county farm.

In average summers with adequate water, plants would be flourishing but in the intense heat the leaves are withering away and the ground has turned to dust. The Stafford family has been small farming for 20 years. In good years they stored food for the winter and sell the excess. But not this year.

"We've done that in the past for tomatoes squash things like that but we haven't done that this year there wasn't enough excess to do that, there's no corn this year it dried up before it made corn" Linda says.

Bigger farms have the advantage of industrial irrigation systems. Most small farms rely on hand watering and the weather.

"That's the biggest problem is you just don't know when its going to rain don't know what the weathers going to do, you do a lot of praying" says farm worker Cindy Doyle.

Early yield crops like peas have done well, but later harvests are gone.

"We've pretty much given up, its just dried up and gone," says Stafford. "Maybe we'll get some rain and salvage what's left" she says.

A lot of small farmers tell us they've already chalked-up this season as a loss and are getting ready to replant for the fall. Farming experts say the best you can do for your small farms and gardens is set up an irrigation system.

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