Drought conditions affecting agricultural producers

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BUCHANAN, Va. (AP) -- Agricultural producers in southwest Virginia are feeling the pain of drought conditions.

The Roanoke Times reports most of the Roanoke and New River valleys are experiencing moderate drought, with some parts reaching severe levels. The last area-wide rainstorm fell July 23.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has reported 40% of pasture in Virginia in very poor condition. In addition, 67% of apples have been harvested this year, down from 74% during the same time last year.

Botetourt County farmer Kevin Marshall says conditions forced him to feed hay to cattle starting in mid-September, two months early. He says he thinks he'll have enough hay for the winter but won't make extra cash selling some.

Marshall says he'll consider selling calves at lower weights even if that results in lower prices.

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