HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Burned corn, wilted soybeans, puny peaches. A drought can wreak havoc on crops, bankrupting farmers and sending produce prices through the roof.
For many years, Alabama has taken a mostly reactive approach to droughts, assisting farmers after the fact. However, effective July 1, the state is trying something new. A new state law allows for the creation of the Alabama Drought Assessment and Planning Team. The team will help develop a statewide drought plan, assess drought conditions and make water restriction recommendations, when necessary.
There is a tremendous financial incentive in responding wisely to droughts.
"In the state of Alabama, agronomy - which is your soybean, cotton, corn - is a billion dollar industry," said Madison County Extension Coordinator Walter Harris.
"Last year, gross receipts were over $900 million," Harris added.