Drought leaves cracks in way of life

This year’s widespread drought has certainly taken a tremendous toll on crops and animals.  But what about the toll on farmers themselves?

The New York Times considers that question in a story this week based on interviews with nearly three dozen farmers in the middle of the country. Reporter John Eligon found that although most are not in danger of losing their homes or going hungry, the drought is threatening the way of life in rural America. He also found what he called a “curious sense of calm.”

“My granddad wasn’t a worrier, my dad wasn’t a worrier, I’m not either,” said Kent Woolfolk, a cattle farmer in southwestern Kansas. “You got to be concerned, but if you dwell on it, it’s just going to eat you up. It will rain. It always has.”

For those of us in the Midwest, that calm approach may not seem so curious, or unexpected.  Simply practical.

As the Times also pointed out:  Farmers are plotting their survival, asking their banks for more money or adjusted loan terms, tapping the equity in their land and scaling back their spending at home.  

Click here to read the Times’ story. You might also give a listen to Harvest Public Media’s story on the stress and ultimate economic impact of the drought. Frank Morris’s report aired on NPR last week.