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Abnormally dry weather impacting East Tennessee and some farmers are both prepared and concerned

One farmer in East Tennessee said they were concerned about growing the crops their animals eat in such dry weather.

NEW MARKET, Tenn. — Hot weather in East Tennessee isn't just making people sweat harder. It's also causing concern among some farmers in the area.

Lick Skillet Farm in New Market Tennessee has been around for over a century and has seen its share of weather, ranging from one extreme to the other. 

"But then in 2016, every county in the State of Tennessee was in severe drought conditions, and that was the last big drought that I can think of,” said Alex Miller, who works on his family's farm.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, most of Tennessee is considered abnormally dry, which is the first stage of experiencing a drought. 

"if we managed this farm the way that it was managed 40 or 50 years ago, we couldn't carry nearly as nearly as many animals," he said. "We just wouldn't be able to operate". 

Lick Skillet Farm specializes in producing grass-fed meats. Miller said they are able to manage during dryer months because they are prepared. 

"We are now breeding animals that are more tolerant of extreme heat," he said. "The breed of animals we use originated in St. Croix, in the tropics."

However, he also said they are behind on producing the crops their animals eat. 

"it's just sitting there, waiting for rain and it hasn't died yet, but it's not growing," he said. "And so that's what we're waiting on".

Miller said although all is not lost, there are still some concerns because it has not rained in a while. 

"If you left me in charge of scheduling, I'd have one inch of rain every Sunday evening," he said. "'All right, just schedule it, take care of it.' But that's just not the way it's going to work."

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