Farmers, ranchers facing rough start to 2013 following drought - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Farmers, ranchers facing rough start to 2013 following drought


With bitter cold temperatures, combined with a dry ground and the continuing drought, farmers and ranchers are having a rough start to 2013.

But one rancher in Miami County, KS, is getting creative with water.

"We've only gotten a few days of snow this winter, not nearly enough moisture to put a significant dent in the drought. Now those who rely on water to make a living are getting nervous," said Frank Moley, who has been raising cattle for years, enough time to perfect his cattle call.

Moley and his family rely on grazing areas and more importantly ponds to keep his 100 head of cattle healthy. Lately though, that has proven more difficult than ever.

"It's probably been since the 30s since we've seen this kind of a drought with no rain, especially for this long," Moley said.

Most of his ponds and creeks are running dry, and some are completely tapped out.

So Moley has been forced to get creative and uses a device to keep his cattle hydrated, but there is a catch.

It runs off city water, and that is a $400 per month added expense that is straining his budget.

"It's really unbearable but we have to do it. The cost of fuel, of parts, everything is through the roof and now we've got a drought," Moley said.

Moley said the occasional rain or snow helps, but he knows it will take more than that to refill the water holes.

"If we get a 2-inch rain, most of it is going to soak straight into the ground, and we won't get any runoff we need. It will take three to four days of 2-3 inches of rain to put any water into these ponds," Moley said.

So now all he can do is keep a close eye on his cattle and a eye to the sky, hoping to see more rain clouds over the horizon.

And with no rain or snow in the extended forecast, it looks like Moley will be relying on city water a little longer.

On top of paying for city water, Moley said the price of hay and other feed is also up. The summer heat destroyed most grazing areas forcing more farmers to buy hay, which is pushing up the price.

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