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The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Drought dries up business in Jasper County

  • NEWTON - Lawn care and lawn equipment businesses in the Jasper County area took a pretty hard hit with the 2012 drought that the Midwest suffered.
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  • Lawn care and lawn equipment businesses in the Jasper County area took a pretty hard hit with the 2012 drought that the Midwest suffered.
    "Pretty rough," stated Victor Vanderhoof of Newton, who has his own lawn maintenance business.
    Vanderhoof can usually be seen around town in the seat of his riding lawnmower, but he can't control what "Mother Nature" decides to give us.
    "Some yards need mowed at least once a week, but, now it might be every other week or every three weeks. Some are even once a month or not at all," Vanderhoof stated. "I've been doing some 'hard' landscaping, powerwashing and then I do have a side job of carpet cleaning otherwise I would feel the hit real hard."
    "The trees are under stress right now because of the hot weather and lack of rain. They cannot sustain leaves without water. To prevent stress to trees you need to water them at the base with a slow trickle to give the roots time to absorb the moisture," Vanderhoof stated.
    Despite the brown grass, Vanderhoof is seeing a little green, but like an empty rain gauge, he's really hoping for rain and a better season next year.
    "It's definitely the worst I've seen," he said.
    Mark Smithenry, Newton Tractor Sales, stated, "After a summer of scorching days and not any rainfall, lawn mower and farm equipment sales came to a complete stop. I have no comparison to other years as I wasn't in this business then, but, this is pretty bad."
    The drought is not only hurting the lawn mower business, sales of lawn mowers and ag equipment, it's hurting the farmer and his crop.
    This year's drought has many old-timers pointing to the drought years of 1934 and 1936 as a reference for how bad it is.
    Ed Mitchell of Jasper County, a youngster at the time of the previous droughts, doesn't remember a time since then that has been so hot and dry.
    In talking to Carl Baker, head of the Newton Water Department, he stated the drought really hasn't had an effect on the city due to a new water plant.
    "The plant is running good. We have a 500,000 gallon storage capacity and we've added two new wells. At this point in time, everything is looking good."
    Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn asked consumers to conserve their water usage. To this Baker stated, "We have indicators at the plant that let us know where our water level is. We did our new water plant at the right time. Before building the new plant and addition of the wells, we'd have probably been in trouble."
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