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Continuing Drought Poses Dire Threat to Farmers' Livelihoods

Aired June 16, 2000 - 2:01 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Already, drought is being blamed for brushfires and water restrictions in a number of places. And if farmers don't begin to see rain, a lot of crops could die in the fields. In Pulaski County, Georgia, they're expecting showers today, but perhaps too late.

Here's Steve Russell of CNN affiliate WMAZ.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEVE RUSSELL, WMAZ REPORTER (voice-over): Alfred Carr took the chance Mother Nature would be on his side when he started planting cotton in early May.

ALFRED CARR, FARMER: We were hoping maybe that weather patterns would change in time to help us with this crop. But right now, we haven't had any help other than what we can do for ourselves.

RUSSELL: He's running his own irrigation system, something he rarely does before the first cotton bloom in late June. Spring rain is supposed to irrigate now, but so far this year, Carr had to use his watering system three times.

CARR: Main thing, I guess, we're trying to protect what we've already invested, try to minimize our losses as much as we can.

RUSSELL: Even if a tropical storm hit Pulaski County next week, Alfred anticipates losing 50 percent on his crop.

(on camera): Alfred Carr has spent his entire life on the farm, and this is the driest he's ever seen it this early in the season. Farming is in his blood.

(voice-over): That's the life of a farmer. Mother Nature can change on you every day. Carr hopes the next change is for the better.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WATERS: That was Steve Russell from CNN affiliate WMAZ.

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