Near drought conditions concern local farmers

VIOLA, Illinois - Farmer Chad Bell dealt with a wet May while trying to plant his corn, and now can only hope rain will fall soon to keep the crops alive.

"Today will be three weeks since our last rain," said Bell, from the field on the family farm outside Viola.

"Everyday without rain means a few less dollars in our pocket. It could be the difference between making some money and not making a profit," said Bell.

On Thursday, the Drought Monitor declared parts of central and western Illinois and eastern Iowa as "abnormally dry," defined as a near drought.

The soil is bone dry and Bells's corn is rolling, the plant's leaves turning inward.

"It rolls the leaves up to protect itself to conserve moisture. That's what we're looking at now," he said.

A few of the corn plants are turning a grayish color, and aren't the usual healthy green.

"Not good," he said.

But, Bell says thing can turn around. As long as it rains, soon.

"It's salvageable. If we can catch some rain here in the next week to ten days, we'll still have a crop. But, with how dry it's been right now, we may shave off some yields and in the end, it will cost us some money," Bell said.

"Someday, it will rain. Hope it's not too late."