'It's Just Suffering': South Carolina Farmers Struggle Amid Severe Drought Conditions

‘It’s Just Suffering’: South Carolina Farmers Struggle Amid Severe Drought Conditions

According to WMBF News, Farmers across South Carolina are increasingly concerned as a severe drought continues to affect the state.

“It takes a lot of rain to get out of a drought that we’re in right now,” said Heath Squires, a farmer from Aynor.

Squires, who runs Southern Palmetto Farms with his wife and also operates two other farming companies with his father and uncles, emphasized the critical need for substantial rainfall.

“One or two-tenths is a Band-Aid, but we need 2 or 3 inches, an inch at a time, two inches at a time,” he explained.

The drought’s impact was evident on Monday, with Squires’ corn crop showing significant stress.

“I mean, you can just look across and look at the damage and how it’s just suffering from dry weather,” he remarked.

Squires pointed out that the corn should be significantly larger and greener.

“If this corn was healthy and getting plenty of rain, it’d probably be about 6 or 7 feet tall. It would be fully green, there wouldn’t be any dry spots on it,” he described.

The drought is not only affecting farmers and their crops but also local rivers, such as the Little Pee Dee, which is largely dry despite some residual water.

To keep their businesses running, Squires and his family are putting in extra effort.

“Some of them we’re starting when we get off work of an evening, around 5, 6 o’clock. Some of them we’re getting up at 11, 12 o’clock of a night and going to the field and cutting them on for the next morning. We try to irrigate when the sun isn’t out when we won’t get as much evaporation, try to use the most out of the water,” Squires explained.

He added that many crops, including his turf, are kept on irrigation to maintain their health.

“It’s pretty green and lush but it’s one of the fields that gets watered just about every night. And we’re trying to get it grown into where we can harvest it as soon as possible,” he said.

Despite the additional costs, Squires remains dedicated to his work.

“I love what I do, I wouldn’t want to do anything else than what I do right now — farm,” he stated.

As of Monday, much of the state was experiencing drought conditions. However, WMBF News meteorologists are forecasting showers later in the week, offering a glimmer of hope for the affected farmers.