The state fair brings farmers from every corner of the state to Des Moines each August. For many of those farmers, this year's fair is a needed escape.The latest drought map released by the USDA shows nearly two-thirds of the state is now in extreme drought conditions.
Bill Norton brings his whole family to the fair. His dairy farm has been in the family for more than 170 years. Norton knows while it is nice to get away and spend time with the family at the fair, the drought will still be waiting for them when they return to their farm in Tipton.
“The feed costs are getting higher, milk prices aren`t getting any higher so the profit line isn't good and so we are just going to have to make some decisions on how we are going to get through that,” said Norton.
One option is cutting back on cows and just using the feed they already have and not buying more than they have to.
And being a family run business, Norton said, makes it harder to look at the more drastic options.
“It makes that harder to say this business isn't working, so we better sell it and do something else. It’s not quite that easy, but we are saying we can’t keep doing what we`re doing if we can’t make enough money to keep doing it. We`re going to have to do something else,” said Norton, “For us to make it, milk should double what it is now. And whether the consumer can handle that, probably not, so I don`t know what the answer is, but hopefully we can weather the storm.”