Drought impacts local produce
Published: Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, August 28, 2012 12:08
Water. It is such a simple luxury, something that is taken for granted. The sunshine has been great, but without rain, Butler County is suffering and in the midst of a drought.
“[The year] 2012 has been one of the hottest years on record,” said Mike Dreisbach, director of public services for the city of Oxford.
The lack of water affects day-to-day life, especially the growing of food. According to Dreisbach, the rainfall has been six inches below what it should be for the year.
Butterfield Farms, a few hundred acres of farm located on state route 73, however, has been damagingly affected by the drought, according to employee Andrea Bryant. The outcome of this drought is not looking positive, said Bryant.
“The prices [of produce] are going to go through the roof,” Bryant said. “It’s going to be negative because we’re not going to have enough [produce].”
Bryant gave an example of this year’s produce compared to a normal, good year’s produce.
“Generally, on a good year, [referring to] beans and corn, we create almost 60 bushels of beans, and corn is almost 56 bushels,” Bryant said. “[This year], we’ll be lucky if we get 20 bushels of beans and 20 to 30 of corn. It’s really bad.”
Butterfield Farms has a produce market situated within the farm with an address on Oxford Trenton Road that sells produce grown on Butterfield Farms along with cheeses, bacon, jellies, honey and other assorted goods. It also sends produce out of the farm, according to Bryant.
“We grow mainly for customers because we’re a produce market. A lot of farmers ship down to the river on barges, and [produce is] usually taken overseas,” Bryant said.
Junior Emily Holifield said she noticed the effects of the drought in her daily life.
“I noticed less produce this past summer, and there is an obvious difference in the way my front lawn looked last year and how it looks now,” Holifield said.
According to Bryant, compared to the drought in 1980, this year’s drought has not been so bad.
“I wouldn’t say it’s as bad because the difference between this drought and the 1980 drought is [the 1980 drought] started a lot earlier, and we didn’t get any rain period. For this one we got rain early on and haven’t had any since,” Bryant said.
While farms are suffering, water used for daily use is not in harm. Dreisbach said the city has prepared for droughts and is capable of providing the same amount of water that has consistently been provided.
As far as water used for daily living, there is no need for alarm.