Concerns over severe drought grow for Nebraska farmers

As severe drought continues to grapple much of the state, Heartland farmers are growing concerned.
Published: May. 24, 2023 at 5:52 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The severe drought in Nebraska is becoming a growing concern for farmers. Some are uncertain about what to do with their crops if we don’t get enough rain.

Mark Brennen grows crops in Omaha every single day. It’s something he’s done for years and lately, he has to water his crops daily to keep them going.

“Water is essential,” Brennen said. “Most vegetables need about an inch of water a week during the growing season.”

Brennen is the owner of Benson Bounty Farm. He tells 6 News his crops are suffering from the lack of rain and moisture.

“The lack of moisture puts more stress on the plants so they’re not as healthy as they can be and they’re more susceptible to diseases and pests,” Brennen said.

He’s not alone. Bill Armburst, owner of Paradise Ridge Farms, doesn’t remember a time as dry as this.

He grows corn and soybeans and raises cattle.

“A disastrous situation because normally we rely on subsoil moisture to get us through the dry periods and we don’t have that at all this year,” Armburst said.

Armburst said in a normal year without drought the height of the grass on his farm is typically three feet tall. Now it barely reaches his knees.

For many farmers like him, the grass is essential for cattle to survive.

“That impacts the cattleman’s income and it’s going to impact consumers later on because these cattle have no place to go,” Armburst said. “They’re going to go to the slaughter and we’ll have fewer calves in the future.”

But like Brennen, he’s not giving up.

“It’s a challenge that’s going to be with us moving forward,” Brennen said.