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South Georgia Drought

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by John Deere, Mar 16, 2001.

  1. John Deere

    John Deere LawnSite Member
    Posts: 128

    Just saw a report on CBS news about the drought in south Georgia. I also saw a landscaper speaking to some board about water restrictions. He was obviously not happy with the restrictions as none of us would be. I was just curious if any of you have experienced this problem? Also, we live in a Farming state (Nebraska) and a huge problem right now is farming. They constantly are receiving government assistance. What's the chance (we) in the lawn care business would be looked upon the same? I highly doubt the government would even raise and eyebrow. I guess I would feel a lot more comfortable if we had some type of organization on our behalf to help in times like this. Fortunately we personaly have never really had to face this problem, but you all should stop and think for a second just how important water is to our business. No water-No business!

    [Edited by John Deere on 03-16-2001 at 07:41 PM]
  2. Fantasy Lawns

    Fantasy Lawns LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,913

    state wide water restrictions ...even number or non address Sun & Thurs while odd number address Wen & Sat NO watering between 10am-4pm ...been that way for months around here
  3. Dennis

    Dennis LawnSite Member
    from Ga.
    Posts: 155

    I know several farmers in the mid to south Ga area that have been told NOT to farm this year!!! And if they do and use well water to supply irrigation the county agents will put a lock on the well so they can't irrigate.
    Don't sound like much help to me. farming is a thankless profession..
  4. John Deere

    John Deere LawnSite Member
    Posts: 128

    My whole family is in the farming business from Illinois to Nebraska so don't get me wrong. If you think I don't agree with you you're wrong.
  5. cutting edge

    cutting edge LawnSite Member
    Posts: 194

    We are still under water restrictions here in the sunbelt, but that does not apply to private wells.

    Dennis, I have not heard anything about county agents locking wells. I don't think they have any authority to do that.

    In the morning they are having an auction for farmers that normally irrigate from the Flint River Basin. They are going to pay the farmers with winning bids not to irrigate.

    We did get several inches of rain over the past few weeks. There is still water standing in some places, and everything is looking green. I hope that this will continue.
  6. lee b

    lee b LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,580

    County agents have no authority, they only advise farmers as a part of the state university system. Talk about misinformed, where did you hear that? Some farmers along the Flint river have been offered money to not irrigate, they have to agree to that and sign a contract, but it's not mandatory. John Deere , the drought in my part of Georgia is a ongoing thing, 12 of the last 15 years. In south Georgia if you go two weeks during the growing season without rainfall, you have drought conditions. Our soil types do not retain moisture like the peidmont soils. We have received about 8" of much needed rain in the last two weeks though, but I don't think Florida has gotten much relief.
  7. John Deere

    John Deere LawnSite Member
    Posts: 128

    I guess what I would like to know from you people in that area is how has the drought affected you (if it has) and what do you do to overcome the problem. Like I said earlier, the landscaper I saw on the news was seriously worried and obviously affected by this. Is it really a problem or is it being overblown? I've got to say if they would put water restrictions on us here that would DRAMATICALLY put us in economic disaster! We had a severe drought here last fall, but for the most part all of our maintenance accounts are irrigated so it really didn't affect us too much. But if they were to put restrictions on our properties I figured we would lose close to $60,000. I'm telling you right now, there is no way I could afford to do that. So what I was saying earlier about the government is that even though we would have water restrictions put in place due to drought it is still the decision of the government that would place me in bankruptcy court. It seems like a lot of people today get govermental assistance, but would we?

    [Edited by John Deere on 03-16-2001 at 11:19 PM]
  8. MikeGA

    MikeGA LawnSite Member
    Posts: 101

    Well, I do have some first hand experience on this topic. My dad, cousin and I farm close to 1500 acres scattered over 40 some odd miles starting about 60 miles west of Atlanta and over into Alabama (where the real farming in our area is). We were in the watering band as far as residential areas were concerned, but it was only for public water customers, never private wells. there was one doctor over in Atlanta in the city limits had a well drilled at his residence to irrigate his yard and his neighbors raised all kinda hell when he irrigated his yard EVERY DAY and they couldn't. I think he said the well cost him over $20,000.

    Not much irrigation going on around here. I did see the few around here running last summer, especially on one turf farm I go by frequently. The local Valley Irrigation dealer in Alabama had a meeting, which I was unable to attend, back in February trying to sell more systems in our area.

    As far as the government payments go, that was originally set up to keep the price of food in the stores cheap, but it has lately been to try to keep American farmers in business with the drop in world prices. Since we started growing corn 5 years ago the price has dropped from $3.50 to $1.80 per bushel. The price of cotton over the last ten years has run from as high as $.80 to the estimated $.35 per lb for this year. Even with all the cost cuts we have made in the last 5 years, it still cost us around $.55 per lb to raise cotton and the best corn producer in our area raised non irrigated corn 220 bushels for $1.25. He gambled and put out alot of nitrogen and hit it big with plenty of rain way up north of us in the mountains. Last year we delt with rising fuel prices, and fortunately we still had nearly enough CHEAP FUEL from the past year in storage to get the crop harvested. This year we will have to buy the high priced fuel AND we will have to buy the HIGHER PRICED Nitrogen to go in our fertalizer blend. That will push the price of growing corn on up another 10 to 15 cents a bushel and cotton another 4 to 5 cents a lb to produce and these prices are at 350lb per acre yield on cotton and at least 75 to 80 bu on corn. With good grades on the cotton. This past year we averaged 40 bu corn at $1.90 per bu and around 225 lb at 60 centss with BAD grade from the drought on our cotton. The last cotton I picked (on Christmas Eve) was ginned and our ginner got the grades back and he said he hadn't ever seen grades that Low!!! You run the numbers and figuer out how we came up 80 grand in the hole?? How many of YOU would put out 150 grand and work it for 5-6-7 months in hopes you can get it back and enough to feed your wife and kids and all the other necessities and maybe just a little to put into something to show oyu have something??

    If the government didn't step in and help out the LITTLE they do, ALL THE FARMERS IN AMERICA WOULD BE OUT OF BUSINESS!! And you want to talk about a NIGHTMARE!! Think just a minute about the possibility of all of our food coming from Mexico and Europe!! Can you say MAD COW DISEASE?? And who all heard about the bad peanuts coming out of Mexico just months after NAFTA was signed. I know all the Peanut growers in South GA did!! Next think about this one, Who knows what DDT is?? It has been banned in the US for how long?? 20- 30 years?? It is still used on crops in many many other countrys!! This could come in on imported vegetables and grains with NO REGULATION based on the NAFTA agreement.

    I don't know but a very few who have farmed ALL their life and was able to walk away from it with NO regrets. This is the reason I am buying(financing!!) the equipment to get in to Lawn maintence, so I may can scrape up enough dough to feed the family while I am still farming and trying to get the banks 80 grand back. Can you say fighting a loosing battle??? Just remember, next year WILL BE BETTER!!

    P.S. Anybody know where Willie is sending the FARM AID??? I haven't gotten mine yet.

    Just send donations
    A loosing battle
    123 Old Oak Road
    My Town, GA 55555
    or phone for wire transfers
    1-555-C My loss
  9. lawnman_scott

    lawnman_scott LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,547

    We have watering restrictions here in FL, bad drought here too. People water anyway though, not all but lots, it hasnt affected me, only lost about 7 or 8 customers this winter, or should i say "winter"
  10. cutting edge

    cutting edge LawnSite Member
    Posts: 194

    Do you mean from an installation point of view or a maintenance or both?

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