Drought causing major issues for East Tennessee farmers

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CORRYTON (WATE) – The ongoing drought in East Tennessee has farmers praying for rain. Between the little moisture, combined with the unseasonably high fall temperatures, crops are suffering.

“Our corn crop is definitely not the best it’s ever been, and our pumpkins, they didn’t get the yield that we would typically get in a wet year so we had to bring some from out of state, but that’s just part of farming,”  Ken Oakes, farmer and owner of Oakes Farm, said. “You have your up years and down years.”

East Tennessee only saw 0.18 inches of rain for the month of October, making it the fourth driest month on record.

Though the ongoing drought and high heat have taken a toll on crops, dry conditions have led more people to visit local farms than in years past.

“This is the first season in a long time that we didn’t have to close due to rain,” Melissa Hill, of Oakes Farm, said.

Those not in the farming industry have been taking advantage of the 80 degree fall days, going to places like Oakes Farm in Corryton to visit the corn mazes and enjoy the hay rides.

“We’re just out enjoying the beautiful weather and trying to squeeze in some fall activities for me and my little ones,” Megan Cochran said.

While the heat and little moisture have made it difficult for farmers this season, Oakes said it’s nothing a good rain storm can’t fix.

“The ground’s really dry and it’s dry deep,” he said. “it’s going to take some rain but hopefully over the winter we’ll get some.”

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