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Camas County drought hurts farmers

By: Jake Putnam
Published in Video on  June 02, 2021

Fairfield--Magic Reservoir in Blaine County is drying up…The reservoir catches melting snow from the Sawthooths and supplies irrigation water to more than 36-thousand acres of farmland across the Magic Valley.

Farmer Steve Miller grows hay, barley, and wheat just outside of Fairfield, his crops are up, and he's praying for rain: How many days of irrigation do you have left:

"I'm guessing maybe the 20th of June. It's a guess, If we get some of those spring showers as we had two weeks ago we can get a few more days," said Miller.

On the 120-year-old farm, red spring wheat is up, alfalfa is up but the farm is will run the rest of the summer off a couple of springs and streamflow from willow creek which is also running low:

"We've got, up here, 1881 rights, so we don't get curtailed we got water till we run out," said Miller. Across the Valley, Mormon Reservoir SW of Fairfield is in the same shape as Magic Reservoir—It normally holds 31-thousand acre-feet, this year its almost dry, and water supply so dire it is measured in days: So you will get a full cut of hay in?

"We'll get 5/8 a ton out there per acre, I'm not sure out here, we have different soil," added Miller.

Miller says with a little rain they might get their wheat in…and says they’ll get at least one crop of hay, maybe two, In a challenging year for agriculture in Central Idaho.

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