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Utah farmers hurting from drought

GRANTSVILLE, Utah (ABC 4 News) - The American Farm Bureau Federation has declared Thursday August 23rd, a "Day of Prayer". They are asking people to pray for the victims of this year’s drought. Farmers in parts of Utah need all the prayers they can get.
GRANTSVILLE, Utah (ABC 4 News) - The American Farm Bureau Federation has declared Thursday August 23rd, a "Day of Prayer". They are asking people to pray for the victims of this year’s drought.

Farmers in parts of Utah need all the prayers they can get.

"I shut down my sprinklers yesterday”, said Ernie Matthews, an alfalfa farmer in Grantsville. “I'm done." Matthews has used up all the water he has for the year. That means instead of harvesting four crops, he’ll only get three.

“'92 was the last year things were this bad,” he said. “It's been hot you know that and the wind has blown us away. It's hard to sprinkle in the wind."

Hot, windy and dry. 87 percent of the state is considered in a drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Wheat and alfalfa farmers are feeling the pain.

Lynn Taylor protects this reservoir near in Grantsville. It's his job to make sure farmers take only their fair share of turns pulling from it. This year, they're limited to half the number of turns because of the drought.

Anytime water becomes this scarce he said, some can go to the extremes.

"I’ve caught people stealing water,” said Taylor, Water Master for the Grantsville Reservoir. “Not this year but last year, I caught someone stealing water and they threatened to get a gun, but when I have that issue I go straight to the cops and tell them what's going on."

No tense moments to report in this area this year. Farmers just tell ABC 4, they’re just thankful for the crop they can harvest.

"I think we've been pretty lucky to get this for what water we've had," said Matthews.

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