Rain may be too little, too late for farmers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The inch or so of rain that fell on the Kansas City area Tuesday was not enough to bring farmers out of day 245 of the drought.

Agricultural analysts said the rain was beneficial, but the area needs several more days of moisture for it to make a difference.

City dwellers see the rain as relief, but farmers see it as saving their livelihood.

The farmers at the Ag Connect Expo & Summit at Bartle Hall said the rain was not enough to bring their winter wheat crop out of jeopardy.

Nearly all of Kansas and Missouri is in a drought, and so is 60 percent of the country.

The farmers said that while the wet weather will buy them some time, if they don't get any more rain in the next two to four weeks when temperatures warm up, their wheat will start coming out of dormancy and could die.

Still, farmers who are used to being at the mercy of Mother Nature said they are grateful for the relief.

"The good Lord's doing us a favor today," said farmer Rhett Gleue of LeRoy, Kan. "We had a wonderful rain, and hopefully that continues throughout the spring and into the summer and ... we make up for what we lost last year."

A loss of any commodity doesn't just affect the farmer -- it will eventually affect anyone who goes to the grocery store.

A depleted wheat supply means prices go up.

"Short wheat crops means less bread, or more expensive bread," explained Peter Lorenz of the National Farmers Organization.

Meteorologists said it would take several more soakings to begin to put a dent in the 20 inches the area is behind in its average rainfall.

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