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Eastern Connecticut farm feeling impacts of drought

Gov. Ned Lamont declared a stage three drought for New London and Windham counties.

BROOKLYN, Conn. — Drought conditions are getting more severe in Connecticut as the summer goes on.

Eastern Connecticut is in an extreme drought and the rest of the state is in a moderate to severe drought. Gov. Ned Lamont declared a stage three drought for New London and Windham counties.

RELATED: Eastern Connecticut faces 'extreme drought' conditions as state continues to see lack of rainfall

"It's been a bad year for hay,” said Brooklyn hay farmer Lou Brodeur, the owner of Pakulis Farm. “This year has been very dry and the weather man is not cooperating with us at all."

Brodeur's family has owned Pakulis Farm in Brooklyn since 1915. He has worked on the farm since he was a kid and took over the business about 10 years ago.

“I mowed this morning. It should have been 12-15 inches high for second cutting and nice and thick but you can see, there's nothing really there; it's only about four or five inches high,” he said.

Rain clouds haven't visited as much as farmers need.

"It's mother nature. sometimes it goes north of us, sometimes it goes south of us, sometimes it just disappears,” Brodeur said.

Pakulis sells mostly to horse farms in Connecticut and produces up to 15,000 square bales. Brodeur said their barn would normally be full, but this year, only half of what it should be.

"It's gonna be very hard to meet the demand and what's going to happen is farmers in Eastern Connecticut are going to run out of hay very early this year,” he said.

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Some Connecticut communities have put mandatory water conservation measures in place. Nearby, Putnam is under a mandatory water ban for anything non-essential, such as watering lawns or washing cars.

The drought is another item on the list of challenges this year for local businesses like Pakulis Farm.

RELATED: Severe drought impacts eastern Connecticut farms

"Price of diesel fuel, fertilizer, everything we need for the farm is just almost double in price and it's getting harder and harder to make a living. and when you get a hay crop like this year, it's gonna be a bleak winter,” Brodeur said.

The season typically lasts until early November but that all depends if they get enough rain or if it snows early.

Elisha Machado is a reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at emachado@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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