Drought conditions make for a rough produce growing season

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ATHENS, Ala. – While a day of no rain is good for outdoor activities, it's more bad news for farmers and the produce they grow.

Currently north Alabama is experiencing drought conditions and this is taking a toll on local produce.

"This variety will be ready in 10 days," explained local farmer, Wes Isom, while walking through his peach orchard.

For local farmer Isom, each peach tree is like a child to him. And right now his peach and veggie crops are in need of some rain. For now they are making due with irrigation and sprinkler systems.

"We grow our vegetables on plastic beds so we have drip irrigation there we have drip irrigation under some of our fruit trees also," said Isom.

However, crops are suffering from weeks with little to no rain in some areas.

"We have sweet corn right now that we can’t put water on and it's tossing and silking. If it doesn't get a rain in within a week, it's doubtful it will make it. But that’s why we plant multiple crops," said Isom.

But even with the sprinkler systems for these peaches, it comes at a high price.

"If we water for five hours, we’re talking about 2,400 gallons per minute," explained Isom.

And even at that, isom says it's still nothing like mother nature.

"I feel sorry for any farmer that doesn't have irrigation," said Isom.

The 31 varieties of peaches grown at Isom's Orchard will be just fine thanks to the hundreds of gallons used every week to supplement the rainfall.

Isom says they'll be smaller, but sweeter since its been a dry season.

And despite the drought, this peach crop is already looking better than previous years.

"Because in the previous two years we had temps in the winter that were getting to 4 degrees, 5 degrees, on three or four different occasions," explained Isom.

For Isom this is normal, “And that's the most exciting thing about farming I guess, just because no two years are ever the same."

Another impact of this rain could be seen in our local pumpkin crops. Isom says between June 21st and July 21st they've got to see a big rainfall to get those planted.