Rain would be a welcome relief for farmers, consumers

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, September 1, 2011

We never thought we’d pray for a tropical storm, but we’re doing just that now.

As the Tropical Depression 13 swirls in the Gulf of Mexico, we watch and hope that the winds will blow just so, keeping the depression over the warm waters another day or two and then turning in eastward towards Alabama.

After all, we wouldn’t mind a little rain – or a lot of rain – from a storm named Lee.

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With Pike County, Alabama and much of the Southest under extreme drought conditions, the summer’s heat and lack of rain are wreaking havoc on crops and nerves.

Peanut farmer Billy Hixon offered plain-spoken perspective about this year’s challenge. Even though the commodity prices are up for peanuts “it won’t do you any good if you don’t have a crop.”

And without blessed rains, the peanut farmers won’t have much of a crop. Nor will the others, who’ve lost corn and whose livestock are suffering under the oppressive heat and lack of natural water sources.

The effects will be long-lasting, as well. With crops wilted and dying in the field, commodities will be scarce. And that means food prices will rise for consumers, who are at the end of line.

We need a good, solid soaking.

“An inch or two won’t do,” said Jeff Knotts. And “even that might not be enough.”

We know the ravages hurricanes and tropical storms can bring: Katrinia, Opal and more are fresh on the minds of many in Pike County. And we’ve watched as the East Coast was deluged last week by Irene.

But we still can’t help hoping, praying even, for a solid soaking to head our way. A day or two of steady rains, enough to help fill ponds and soak the soil, would be a welcome relief … for our farmers and all of us.