Life,no matter where you live or what you do, has its challenges. For Northwest Arkansas dairy farmers,drought is our current challenge. With lack of the normal amount of spring rains and the late spring and early summer heat wave with no rain, our crops that we rely on to feed our cows through the year are extremely stressed. Although irrigating crops is not a common practice in our area, it can be done if you have the equipment and access to enough water. For the last two days, Ryan and our nearest dairy farmer neighbor,Don, have been working to set up the irrigation equipment to water a field of Sudan grass that will become feed for Don's dairy cows.
Getting the equipment set up is a hot,sweaty job in 100 degree weather. Irrigation pipe was hauled by trailer and connected from the lagoon water source to the field. Since the equipment had not been used in several years, it has taken time and effort to basically blow the cobwebs out of the pump system. Late this afternoon as we watched the water pump into the irrigation pipe, we were feeling a great sense of accomplishment when all of a sudden, a clamp broke, the hose blew off and provided a bath for Don and alot of laughter for all of us! It was the perfect time to end the day's work!
Tomorrow the plan is to add more gaskets and clamps and get the water pumping on the field without any extra baths for the farmer. Drought can challenge our crops and the financial sustainability of our farms but it will never beat the friendship of farmers or the spirit of farmers who love their animals, care for the land and will do everything in their power to save the family farm.