By: Rachel Wigington, County Extension Agent
(October 14, 2016) The National Drought Mitigation Center has now declared Pickens County as a Level 3 Drought area, which is considered an extreme drought situation. This is a very important classification for our county because farmers with a commercial livestock operation who have lost yields due to stressed drought conditions are now able to apply for benefits and assistance needed from the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA). When under drought
conditions, plants are stressed and can either become stunted in growth or die altogether resulting in major losses for farmers. Since those plants may not be suitable for feeding animals, the FSA can provide assistance to those farmers who are able to report major losses for the season.
Level 3 Drought affects farmers as well as homeowners. During a Level 3 Drought, people are asked to only water lawns or gardens on weekend days between midnight and 10:00 AM. Watering your lawns and gardens at night is more beneficial to your plants during these situations. Watering at night lessens the amount of water lost through evaporation, which means that your plants and the soil are receiving the majority of water being applied. If you water your lawn or garden during the day, most of the water will be lost to evaporation and the water left on the plants may actually reflect so much sunlight that you may see signs of sun scald on your plants and lawn.
If you are a farmer with a commercial livestock operation that has been affected by the drought, please call the Farm Service Agency and set up an appointment to fill out the application for assistance. The phone number for the USDA Farm Service Agency in Calhoun is 706 629 2582.