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Rain makes stuggle a little easier

By Staff
Jason Cannon, Franklin County Times
Late Monday night, I looked up in the sky and saw an unfamiliar sight – rain.
For the first time in quite some time I went to sleep listening to the sounds of a thundershower over Russellville and awoke to much of the same yesterday morning.
The lack of rain has caused quite a lifestyle change in Franklin County. Residents are not permitted to launch fireworks this Fourth of July in fear they may land in a dry patch and start a fire.
You can't burn your rubbish for the same reasons, which makes efficient spring-cleaning a lot harder. Still, there is a danger that such burning could lead to a major fire.
After the nice shower of rain Monday and Tuesday, it seems strange to think that we're still under drought conditions, but conditions are still very serious.
And even though there's a little bit of give to the ground now, it's still far too dry.
The Franklin County area is about 17-inches behind on average rainfall since Jan. 1, 2007. The area is approximately 50 inches below expected levels since Jan. 1, 2005.
To get us back to average, it needs to rain at least one-inch everyday for nearly two months.
That kind of rainfall in that amount of time may sound like a good thing, but it would cause a whole new problem, albeit an ironic one: Flooding.
The conditions are so out of kilter right now that the best we could hope for is a few inches of rain per week. That wouldn't be enough to cause any problems but it would be enough to keep our farmlands damp and help fill local lakes and ponds.
This spring drought has been the knockout blow of a devastating one-two punch.
An April freeze killed about 500 acres of corn in the county.
About 350 acres of wheat had no yield potential and was cut for desperately needed hay .
Forage crops have also been significantly reduced on 60,000 acres of pasture and hay land in the county.
The overall loss in Franklin County is estimated at $2.1 million. That's a staggering amount.
Aside from the dollars lost to the county as a whole, you have to consider the dollars lost to local cattlemen and farmers, many of which make farming their sole means of support.
I hope that the rain this week is a sign of good things to come, or at least provided some relief to our local farmers.