Drought is impacting local farmers

Livestock eating spent grain on Legare Farm on Johns Island (John Gaddy/WCIV)

By Sonya

JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (WCIV) -- These days, it's high and dry in the Lowcountry. In fact, the area is classified as being in a moderate drought.{}

The Lowcountry isn't the only place that is feeling the heat.{}More than half of the country is in a moderate to exceptional drought.

The dry weather is making it difficult for farmers like Thomas Legare to take care of the crops and livestock on his farm.

Cows, donkeys, and pigs all live on Legare Farm on Johns Island. Their main source of food is getting more and more expensive because of the drought in other parts of the country.

"The Midwest corn is just drying up terribly, and it's causing corn prices to go up, which trickle down and make my feed prices here in the South go up tremendously. We have seen a tremendous increase in our feed the past couple of weeks," Thomas Legare said.

That extra cost has caused Legare Farms to get creative with feeding livestock.

"We feed spent-grain from the local breweries," Legare said. "We are having to use that more that now and less corn product because of the corn prices have gotten so high."

The cows, well they seem to love it, and Legare loves it because it makes sense economically.

"It cuts down on our price," Legare said. "We still have to mix some corn and other feed and minerals, but it does cut down on our feed price."

While{}they are saving some money on feed, they may be spending that extra money on irrigation when they plant their fall vegetable crops and pumpkins.

"We'll just be turning on more irrigation and trying to pump more water," Legare said. "Hopefully our ponds will hold out, but the ponds are down from what they normally should be. But, we'll just have to water a lot more than we normally would.{}When you water, it costs money to have diesel fuel, electricity ... It costs money."

Legare is still optimistic{}the farm will make it through the drought just like it has{}in the past.

"Like I said, we are hot and dry, but we've been through this before, and it's not as bad as some years as we have seen before. We'll get by," Legare said.

Legare says that the prices on his produce are locked in, because they sell it all for their CSA. But, if grain prices keep rising, he'll have to start re-evaluating his meat prices.

Take a look at milk prices around the area here to see how this might be affecting you. The South Carolina{}farm report can be found here.