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Severe drought impacting farmers in Bainbridge area

The lack of rain caused cutbacks to beloved community activities.
Posted at 6:26 PM, Nov 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-13 18:26:32-05
  • Area farmers are navigating through challenges of a severe drought in Decatur County.
  • The local USDA office has grants available for qualifying farmers.
  • Watch the story above to see just how the dry weather is impacting a local farm.


The dry weather is hurting growers in Southwest Georgia.

As farmers in this area wait for the rain to return, I'm digging up resources that could help.

Take a look at this First to Know Weather Map.

While places like Perry are drought-free, that orange shading around Bainbridge shows a severe drought is in place.

Severe drought impacts growers here in a big way. 

"We try to plant right at the first of August. I can't remember getting any significant rain from the start of August until maybe Hurricane Idalia. We got like an inch and that was about it,” said Dan Provence II, co-owner, Spring Hill Tree Farm.

Dan Provence and his son have owned Spring Hill Tree Farm for a few decades.

Over the years they've grown crops here along with traditions like their famous corn maze.

The maze usually stretches 7 acres. This year it was only 2 ½ acres.

They blame that on a lack of rain.

"We were struggling there in August, because we were trying to figure out what to do. We've never not had a maze,” according to Dan Provence , owner, Spring Hill Tree Farm.

I went to the Department of Agriculture to learn what resources are available to farmers suffering through drought conditions. I found out that during severe, extreme and exceptional drought levels qualifying farmers could be eligible for grants.

These farmers tell me they're making it without grant money.

One thing that could help in the future: irrigation.

"It's pumping out through a small four inch well. It's not enough to pump through a pivot,” said Dan Provence II. “From what I hear they're not digging big wells any more so if you have it you have it and if you don't you're pretty much dry land farming."

The technical sector of the Department of Agriculture known as Natural Resources Conservation has cost share applications that could pay up to 75 percent to 90 percent of well cost based on NRCS calculated rates.

When wells cost between $10,000 to $15,000 this could be a big help.

Ultimately the Provence farmers say they have pulled through this season despite the lack of rain.

They welcomed almost 10,000 visitors this season.

"We're going to make it. We work hard and we try to foresee things and make the changes to our plans if we have to,” said owner, Dan Provence.

Well cost share applications are open throughout the NRCS through November 17th.

To learn more about resources from the USDA visit here.