Struggling to keep crops alive, local farmers worry recent rain may be too little, too late

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BATES CITY, Mo. -- Despite the recent rain, many local farmers are struggling to keep their crops alive and healthy through this ongoing drought.

John and Linda White own a you-pick farm in Bates City, Missouri. The couple started farming 18 years ago and said this year stands out.

"This has been a really rough year. This has actually been the worst year that we've had," John White said.

Because of the drought, the Whites said they lost 75 percent of their crop, including all of their blackberry plants and nearly a dozen peach trees.

"We have about 600 plants, and we lost all of them this year. This is the first year that has ever happened, and we had them for 15 years," John White said.

To help get through the dry months, John and Linda started watering the plants themselves.

"We irrigate, but at the cost of this water, you just irrigate enough to keep the plants alive," he said.

That resulted in a sudden spike in their water bill from around $30 to several hundred.

"We are really lucky we don`t make a living off of this because I`m telling you right now, if we made a living off of it, you would be in real trouble, real trouble," White said.

Now they're waiting for Mother Nature, who thankfully spared some of their crops, and hoping for a better year next year.

Despite the struggles, the couple's you-pick farm will remain open to the public through the summer and fall.

Families can pick up fresh produce that was not affected by the drought or take the kids to pick the fruit themselves. They post updates on their Facebook page.

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