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Drought Frustrates Indiana Farmers

Last updated on Friday, June 15, 2012

(INDIANAPOLIS) - Hoosiers could be paying more for fruits and vegetables thanks to the lack of rain that’s drying out many Indiana farms.

At this year's 47th Annual Christ the King Church Strawberry Festival on Monument Circle, many of the strawberries had to be imported from out of the state.

At the 12th Annual 38th and Meridian Farmers Market, many farmers said they've reaped fewer crops than usual for this time of year.

"Our lettuces will be hit the hardest just because of the heat. The dry weather affects the flavor," said farmer Eli Robb with Full Hands Farm.

"Our tomatoes don't look as good as they should," said farmer Bennie Whipker. "Our cabbage has been hurt. It's all been under trickle irrigation underneath plastic."

Some vegetables are doing better than others, but all have needed constant watering, RTV6's Tanya Spencer reported.

Gene Wild owns Wild of Wild's Apple Farm in Hamilton County and said the warm March and April frost wiped out most of his crops.

"I'll be lucky to get a bushel from the whole orchard," Wild said. "I have a friend that I supplement my supply with, and he lost his, too."

Purdue University agriculture experts said the drought has hit most of Indiana. Of the 143 apple orchards in Indiana, many have lost most of their fruit.

Wild said he worried about the lack of locally grown apples.

"Well, there will be plenty of apples, but they'll be from out of state. You won't find many in farmers' markets. You'll just have to be satisfied with grocery store apples," he said.

Whipker said despite the drought, he's taking the changes in stride.

"I do 5 percent of it; Mother Nature does 95 percent," he said.

Farmers said they're waiting patiently for rain so that their crops can recover.

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