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Local Farmers Need Days Of Rain To Reverse Impact Of Drought

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The soil beneath the corn at Temple Hall Farm has become almost chalky in spots due to the lack of water.
Jonathan Wilson
The soil beneath the corn at Temple Hall Farm has become almost chalky in spots due to the lack of water.

By Jonathan Wilson

This may have been the first day for triple digit temperatures in our region.

But local farmers say their crops have been dealing with conditions hotter and drier than normal for a couple of months now, and there's no relief on the immediate horizon.

Rodney Monroe works at Temple Hall Farm in Leesburg, he says Northern Virginia farmers deal with short agricultural droughts on a regular basis.

But this year, the hot dry weather came earlier than it has in past summers, and it's not going away.

"I don't think we're gonna lose pumpkins," says Monroe. "We might lose some corn like we have here, but there's nothing we can do unless the man upstairs gives us some rain."

Luckily, Temple Hall Farm has invested in a water wheel sprinkler, which means the popular corn maze here should be just fine come September when it opens.

But the farm doesn't have enough pipe to reach all of its corn.

On the edge of a field the sprinkler can't reach, the parched grass crunches underfoot.

The corn is pale green, and starting to dry out near the soil.

Corey Childs is a cooperative extension agent for Loudoun County, his office provides advice and assistance to local farmers.

He says this corn doesn't look like it should.

"I can compare it to the top of a pineapple, where you have the prickly top to it and all the leaves are curled up really tight, that's what this corn looks like," says Childs.

Childs says the curled, pointy leaves are the corns way of protecting itself in the dry weather, maintaining as much moisture as possible.

There's still a chance this field and others across the area, can recover, but Childs says a couple of afternoon thunderstorms won't do the trick.

After weather like this, it'll take days of steady rain.

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