Farmers Struggle in Dry Weather

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MACON COUNTY-The drought is damaging more than just your front lawn. It's threatening the cash crops of central Illinois, and it's likely to hurt the local economy.

Emmett Sefton's been farming in Macon County for more than 50 years.

"It's just been so dry and hot," Sefton says.  "I hope we have a half a crop."

Half a crop, because the heat's damaged the corn plants.

"It's going to be devastating," Sefton says.  "It's going to hurt the area, there's no doubt about it."

He won't know how much his corn and soy crops will yield until he drives the combines through them.  But he worries.

"I'm really not a negative person, but I'm really concerned." 

And he's not alone. Crop Insurance specialist Jack Young says many growers are already calling.

"Talking to a lot of our clients yields are considerably less than what we had hoped for." Young says. "I think it's going to be a very busy claims season."

Even with crops insured, many farmers will only get back what the crops cost.

"It's going to be tough for the farmer to be profitable and it's going to be tough on the economy as a whole and in general," Young says. 

If they make less money, farmers will be spending less money in the local economy.  

But Sefton's still praying for a rainy day, because the rain...could help save the beans he's planted.

"We'll survive," Sefton says.  I don't know how much, but we'll survive."

He'll survive.  But his hope for a big cash crop, has dried up in the sun. 

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