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Water restrictions causing farmers to sacrifice certain crops to save others

By Mike Anderson | Posted - Jul 19th, 2013 @ 8:34pm

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WEBER COUNTY — Water restrictions may be affecting your lawn, but this year's drought is hitting local farmers even harder.

Weber County farmers are getting only about half the time to water that they are normally allotted due to the water restrictions. Some farmers are even sacrificing one crop to save the other.

Less water in the system overall also means that the water pressure is lower, which makes it difficult for the water to get where it needs to go.

Dairy farmer Kelly Larkin said he is doing the best he can to get the water to his crops. He says that he's had to make choices about which crops will be watered. So while the corn at the top of his field is thriving, the corn further down the field is struggling.

Larkin uses his corn to feed his cows, and harvesting less corn means that he'll have to buy more hay.

"I'm expecting a 200,000 ton decrease (in corn) this year," Larkin said. "(This decrease) could end up costing me double on hay, which would be $16,000 a month instead of eight."

Local farmers said they don't have much sympathy for browning lawns. They are grateful for homeowners who are cutting back, but farmers are concerned that it won't be enough.

"I see the sprinklers still running in the middle of the day too, when it all evaporates, before it goes anywhere," Larkin said.

Farmer Tom Favero says that he's lost about 40 percent of his crop due to the water shortage. "This is our livelihood. This is our paycheck. And it's gonna be a smaller paycheck this year."


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