Supervisors Seek Help From the Governor for Pittsylvania County's Drought

Pittsylvania Co., VA - Supervisors say Pittsylvania County is nearing a state of emergency due to the extremely dry weather this year.

Tuesday night, the board voted unanimously to ask the Governor declare the county a drought disaster area.

For Supervisor Tim Barber it hits close to home. Barber has been farming for more than 20 years, but the dry weather has taken a toll on him and others.

"We had a cool spring which stunted the growth of the crops, and then this lack of rain...certain parts of the county has gotten more rain than others, but the Southern end of the county is in really bad condition, " said Barber.

Local agriculture experts say the last time Pittsylvania County saw a drought like this was in 2008.

Spring of last year saw too much rain. Now Barber says it would take several inches of rain over the next few weeks to keep farmers from losing big this year.

"There are some areas in the county that are running about six percent of their average rainfall for the year, " said Extension Agent Stephen Barts.

According to Barts, this will effect more than just the cash crops. Livestock farmers that depend on hay to feed their animals are already seeing less hay to go around.

Without producing enough in the summer, they will be forced to buy hay when winter rolls around - leaving a pretty big dent in their pockets.

"That's why we're asking the Governor to take a look. I know he's going to be in Danville in a few weeks. I hope he'll go out and look for himself, " Barber said.

The Governor can intervene by making a way for producers to get low-interest loans or putting in place a hay assistance program to get them through the dry spell.

"In the past they've done similar programs to that so, hopefully, through the Ag Department they can come up with something that will be helpful to the farmers to get us through this drought condition. That will be a real concern, " Barber said.