With most of the summer -- and even the spring -- being abnormally warm and with little rain, it is taking its toll on Ohio, but especially Newcomerstown.
Hank Zimmer of Center Creek Farm on Adena Drive, Newcomerstown, said, "Hell yes," when asked if the warm, dry weather is having an effect on his farm stand business in the village.
"It's definitely affecting me," he said.
He wanted extra homegrown green beans to sell one week and asked local suppliers for them. But he said they just don't have it.
Zimmer said unless they were irrigating their crops (or supplementing with water), there is no crop.
He said he purchases produce for his stand from local farmers as well as from produce auctions, such as one in Mt. Hope.
For instance, the demand of homegrown green beans at auction costs between $26 to $95 a bushel. That means the average price of the beans was $44 a bushel. He said that cost is being reflected in the price and making producers charge more for the product. That increase is being felt by the consumer, Zimmer said.
"The dry weather has hurt everybody in agriculture," Zimmer said.
Last year, Zimmer said he was "rained out" or closed down his business 10 days for heavy rain and no customers. So far this year, he said he hasn't had that problem.
The Newcomerstown Wastewater Treatment Plant, which monitors and keeps track of daily rainfall in the village, measured 3.25-inches of rain in May, 2.12-inches of rain in June, and only 1.67-inches of rain in July. The average rainfall in the summer in Newcomerstown is around 4-inches a month or 1-inch of rain a week.
Darr Farms in Newcomerstown has been using the assistance of irrigation to supplement their crops in the aftermath of a dry, hot summer.
Roy Patterson, farm manager at Darr Farms since 1983, said he hasn't seen a drought this bad since 1988.
"It's been one of the worst we've seen," Patterson said about the growing conditions in this area.
The farm has been irrigating their crops, especially sweet corn. He said they have 85 acres of sweet corn and he explained that the corn is continually growing and that there is no time for the corn to "breathe" like most summers. In year's past, the days are hot and the nights are cool, and at night, the corn takes a chance to take a break from growing and "breathe." He said with this hot, dry weather, the corn is constantly growing. Therefore, there is no time for the corn to rest.
In terms of the farm's other crops, he said some of the 220 acres of pumpkins are being water and some of the field corn is being harvested without any ears on the stalks.
As far as the soy beans they grow, he said they are doing OK.
"They weather the dry weather much better," Patterson said about the farm's soy bean crop.
But, Patterson said some parts of Ohio are doing much better in growing crops because they have had more rain than Newcomerstown has had. Therefore, the prices of produce can fluctuate.
The U.S. Drought Monitor places most of Ohio, including the Tuscarawas Valley, in a moderate drought.
However, if you ask Gladys Casteel of Newcomerstown, she said it's the worse drought she's seen in the village in the past 60 years. She said yards are brown with little or no green grass spots. The lack of rain has definitely taken its toll on yards, she said.
The U.S. Drought Monitor predicts Ohio's drought to persist or intensify through Oct. 31, 2012.
The answer to the drought could be for some to perform a rain dance. But, for others it is the continual prayer that God will make the crops and fields grow.