It may have just been three days' worth, but the rain over the recent Labor Day weekend provided a boost to some area farmers.
Although the timing might not have been the best for the Washington County Fair, the area received a much-needed dose of rain the first three days of September, with more than 2 inches being recorded at Marietta on Sept. 1 alone. The 3.18 inches tallied over the period were more than the entire amount that fell in August.
"Nothing makes me feel so helpless as a drought," said Jack Jurin, president of the Washington County Farm Bureau. "What in the world can you do?"
The area has been going through what the U.S. Drought Monitor classifies as "abnormally dry" conditions in recent weeks, in some cases reaching the category of moderate drought.
Jurin said the rain was spotty, with three inches filling his rain gauge in Reno and another farmer reporting just a quarter of an inch in Lowell.
The rain likely helped with pasture growth and may enable some farmers to get a second or third cutting of hay, Jurin said. One dairy farmer told him he expected to feed his cattle two or three times as much hay as normal between now and next spring because of dry pasture conditions, but Jurin said the recent rain - and that expected Saturday - could help reduce that amount.
"Bad as it was, it doesn't take much to help a lot," he said.
But for some farmers, the rain didn't come soon enough.
"It would certainly have helped if it'd come a month earlier," said John Thorniley, 89.
A number of the cornstalks on Thorniley's farm off Ohio 7 were left dry and withered by some of the hottest conditions he can recall.
"If I get 20 bushels an acre on it, I'll be tickled," he said.
In Morgan County, spotty rain started showing up in late July, providing a boost for some plants, said Chris Penrose, agriculture educator for the Ohio State University Extension in Morgan County.
"In terms of hay and pasture, it's rebounded very nicely," he said.
The recent rain likely wasn't enough to make a big difference for corn and some soybean crops, but in addition to helping with pasture and hay, it could start replenishing streams and cisterns, Penrose said.
"It'll also put some moisture in the ground for those who are wanting to plant wheat at the end of this month," he said.