MADISON COUNTY, Ala. - The small amount of rain that fell over the Tennessee Valley Thursday did nothing to help area farmers.
Cattle farmers, in particular, are facing a difficult winter, says Josh Melson with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.
Melson is the Lawrence County extension coordinator. He says, "it's going to be some tough times ahead and we need to be proactive in the education process to our farmers."
Cattle rely heavily on hay for winter feed. The drought means a hay shortage. In addition, it prevented farmers from growing the grasses that are also part of a cow's diet.
So, not only will they be paying more for hay, they will likely need to feed their cattle more of it.
However, help is available.
The Alabama Cooperative Extension System has scheduled four meetings in North Alabama next month. There, cattle farmers can get the latest research-based information learn about some of the resources available.
The meetings are scheduled for:
- November 1
- Scottboro High School Auditorium
- 25053 John T Reid Parkway
- November 3
- Marshall County Farmers Federation Building
- 1333 Blount Avenue, Guntersville
- November 15
- Posey Farm
- 1020 County Road 274, Town Creek
In the meantime, other helpful resources can be found at on the drought page of the ACES website.
The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries is also keeping a list of available hay for sale.
Finally, cattle farmers should know there may be federal help available. The USDA Farmer Service Agency has a livestock forage program for counties that have experienced a Level 2 drought or higher.
Contact your local FSA office to learn more.
A list of Alabama county offices may be found here.
And, of course, you don't have to be a farmer to utilize the free advice of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.
Contact information for those offices may be found here.