Farmers Try to Stay Afloat Amid Drought
DELTA, Colo. Nationwide, farmers are getting ready to cash-in on corn, but that's not the case in Colorado. It's estimated Colorado farmers will plant 12 percent less than last year due to drought and water restrictions, and corn isn't the only crop local farmers are cutting back on. As a third generation farmer, Brent Heins thought he'd seen it all, "It's hard to keep up with new technologies and different advantages. You definitely need to if you want to stay in business." Last year he and neighboring farmers were eventually restricted to about 70 percent of average water. "This year they are at 50 percent and are two weeks late turning the water on," said Heins. Ron Godin, a CSU Extension agronomist, said, "They're concerned, they're definitely concerned and making plans on how to deal with less water." "Since we are starting out real low and going to stay low, we're going to have to leave about 30 percent of the ground lay idle," said Heins. This marks the first year he's ever had to leave land unplanted, and will cost him around $100,000 to $150,000. "Everybody likes Olathe Sweet Corn so we're going to try and stick with that and cut out the field corn and pinto beans," Heins said. Other states hope to bank off of corn's potential profits, it's currently a little over $7 a bushel. "Well they're going to plant more corn, whether they can yield it, they're going to need more rain, there's just no way around it," said Godin. Heins and other local farmers are focusing on the most efficient ways to use their water. "We're putting in drip irrigation, this year more acres than normal," he said. The drip irrigation helps prevent evaporation and causes less runoff. "Have to take it as it comes, there's not anything you can do about the weather, and all we can do is hope and pray for rain," said Heins. These methods are his best bet at keeping afloat throughout the drought.