GORDON COUNTY, Ga. — The drought is expanding in north Georgia, and within the past week, the extreme to exceptional drought grew.
The hardest hit areas are in northwest Georgia.
Severe Weather Team 2 meteorologist Brian Monahan spoke to a ranger in Gordon County.
“I’m worried that none of this grass will come back," Jim Rewis said.
The dry, dusty field on Everett Road is a stark difference from the beginning of the year.
"It got flooded in January. That's not good for it, and now it's been dry for months and months and months and months," Rewis said.
What would have been lush, green pasture with a pond on the property, is reduced to stubble.
"You can see it's only a few millimeters high. It's amazing the cows can do anything with it,” he said.
Two huge cattle drinking ponds have been bone dry for the last three months.
"This normally would be completely full of water. From a natural spring further up the hill, and also the rain runoff," Rewis said.
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Rain in the area is less than a foot below average this year, which is why the ponds are not being replenished.
Rewis said he had to sell off about 25 cattle in the last few weeks just to make sure enough feed was on hand for the coming winter.
“We’re trying to withhold our hay,” he said. “We think we have enough hay to make it through the winter."
If rain doesn't start falling more regularly, the economic crunch on ranches like Rewis’ will grow and eventually, its impacts will be apparent at the grocery store.
Fewer cattle going to market will drive up the cost of beef, Rewis said.
He told Monahan the hit has been hard for his family, and in the 14 years he has been ranching in Gordon County, he has never seen anything like the drought conditions.
Cox Media Group