Praying for rain in the Arkansas drought
July 18th, 2012
03:45 PM ET
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Ryan Goodman is a generational rancher from Arkansas with a degree in Animal Science from Oklahoma State University in Animal Science, and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree at the University of Tennessee, studying beef cattle management. He is one of many farmers using social media to bridge the gap between farmers and urban customers. Follow his story daily at or on Twitter and Facebook.

This year’s drought has been rough across much of the country. All year, my dad has been telling me of the dry conditions in Arkansas, how the first hay crop didn’t make, and now how many farmers are selling their cattle herds because there is no hay or grass to feed the livestock.

The recent heat wave only intensified the situation, drying up ponds, pastures, and leaving many trees to start shedding leaves early. I haven’t had the opportunity for a trip home, but I can only imagine how rough it is.

Fires have been breaking out across Arkansas, keeping many on edge and fire fighters busy containing the flames. Over the past week, some spotty showers have popped up daily, but it isn’t enough to ease the situation.

drought monitor

The July 10 drought monitor update shows that the area of extreme drought doubled in one week to 71 percent of the state and exceptional drought is creeping in, jumping to 3.25 percent in one week. Now over 80 percent of the lower 48 states are affected by abnormally dry or drought conditions.

Like many others across the state, my family’s cattle auction in Searcy, Arkansas is seeing head counts well above norms runs for summer months. My father and I shared this story recently on DTN The Progressive Farmer. Our auction would normally run 400-500 head weekly during the summer months, but the past two auctions have been 1,400 and 1,100 head of cattle. Here’s the most recent market report. Local news stations and nationally NBC News have reported on the drought conditions in Arkansas.

But what does the Arkansas drought really look like from the pasture? My parents sent me a few photos over the weekend. The best I can describe the pastures I grew up on is by comparing them to the arid regions on the Western States.

cows in field
My dad has been feeding cattle hay for some time now. Nothing else for them to eat.

Many ponds are getting dangerously low. This could cause concern for debris and unclean water for livestock.

drought trees
Many trees have started shedding leaves. Some like these are bare.

The spotty showers are nice if one pops up over your place, but what folks really need in drought stricken areas is a few weeks of slow, steady rain, followed by a return to normal patterns. Unfortunately, that’s not what the forecast predicts. Until then, just pray for rain.

Follow updates for the drought across the country on Social Media through the Twitter hashtags #drought, #drought12, and see how it’s affecting farmers and ranchers on the #agchat and #ranchlife hashtags.

Previously - Catch up with Ryan's previous columns and What every farmer wants to hear – 'Go USA'

soundoff (207 Responses)
  1. Silvia

    OMG, am over whelmed of what dr okpa did for me and i thank God for the existence of the great man if not for him how would i have been able to get back my love who left me for 3years without notice,i have been contacting some fake spell casters online which they made away with my money and i saw no result,there was a day i was watching television when i saw a woman giving thanks to dr okpa and telling the world how she was helped, when i heard this i was so surprised because i never believed that there are real spell caster who can bring back lost love, so that was how i collected his email and his cell number,instantly after listening to the testimony i called him and i told him how i got his number and i told him my problem and how i have been scammed by some thiefs who claims to be spell casters online then he told me not to worry that my love will surely be back to me within the next 24hours i was surprised i said how could that be possible he told me to watch and see, that was how i decided to wait,in the next 24hours which he told me i could not believe what i was seeing i saw my boy friend who left for 3years in my house he went on knees in the presence of my 2 sisters he was pleading and begging me to forgive him, i was so surprised and i was filled up with joy in my heart, because this is what i have been looking for, that was how we started again and now we are living happily than ever before, and the most surprising thing was that he bought me a new car and he also gave me access to his bank account to let me know that he is not going to leave me again for any reason.I thank you so much sir for what you did for me i do really appreciate,incase you want to thank him for me or you need his help you can contact him through his private or his cell number +2348056563186.



    March 29, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
  2. Amelia

    There was this spell caster that i contacted last month his name is UBIATO after i had a misunderstanding with my mother in law and she want me out of my husband house and my husband was not saying anything to stop her because there was a lady they want him to get married to But one day Sandra my co-worker told me about this man UBIATO so i contacted him for help and he told me all that was going on in my family and after 1day of casting the spell i was getting set for work when my mother in law call me and was asking me to forgive her for what she has done and ask me to get her something sweet to eat it was like a dream to me i really thank him for everything.

    December 11, 2012 at 3:30 am |
  3. Craig Nelsen

    Instead of the Christians praying for rain, frankly, I'd rather have the Indians dancing. It's more colorful.

    July 29, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  4. noneya

    Quit planting Genetically Modified Corn and God might send rain. Its not rocket science people. The government has decieved all the farmers that Genetically Modified Corn will bring more yield and then in return more money. Instead it has brought a drought. Money the root of all evil.

    July 25, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
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    July 25, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
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    July 24, 2012 at 10:41 am |
  7. Molly in AR

    I just wanted to say thank you to Ryan for bringing awareness to the drought situation and the impact it has on our nation's farmers and not being afraid to share his faith. For all the naysayers, we are given the freedom of speech and should not be put down for sharing our faith. So many people today are afraid to share their faith, but Ryan os not one of those people. I know you make your family proud, Ryan.

    July 23, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
  8. Sherri

    Here is one of the dumbest posts I've ever seen. " And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." Matthew 21:22 "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. " Hebrews 8:13 God answers prayers!

    So what about the people who pray to be saved from a burning fire, or a sinking car? What about the parents who pray for a child to not die?What about little girls who are being raped by their dads? How come it is not granted? They asked for it. How come it was not delivered? Stop believing in sky fairies.
    I can't believe that in 2012 so many still believe this nonsense, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Leroy

      Sherri, in 1912, 2012, and beyond, there is reason to believe in the higher powers, in God, and to pray. If you want to be an athiest, that is your privilege, but most of us have faith in the existance of God and that there is a reason for everything. Maybe we think your beliefs, or lack of them, are the nonsense. The "evidence" is only what we can see, or think we're seeing with the senses that we were given. Beyond a few laws of physics for this reality, there is no prooff of anything, and often our faith is all we have, and prayer to many is very important.

      July 27, 2012 at 11:22 am |
  9. kathleenrobinson425

    Ryan, I sympathize with your plight in the drought. Texas had one just like it last year. Many of our plants and trees died; we have not recovered yet. Rain will eventually come around, and I hope it will be a lot of it. But I don't believe God sends drought or rain. I think the statistics are right. Global warming is the cause, and if we don't turn it around now, we are all in for a century of suffering. But I do hope the rains come for you and yours.

    July 23, 2012 at 1:37 am |
  10. Luke

    Christians pray for rain. Romney prays for Bain.

    July 22, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  11. FaithJn316

    "And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." Matthew 21:22
    "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. " Hebrews 8:13 God answers prayers!

    July 22, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
  12. Stalker

    Praying for anything is not being proactive. Maybe conservatives should start looking into the possibilty of climate change, despite what Rush, O'Reilly and Fox News tells them. Maybe tougher laws against corporations polluting our air, water and land would be a good step. I know, that's socialism though, huh Cletus?

    July 22, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
  13. Jane

    Pray for rain. And stop being rude to others!

    July 22, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • Bob

      The first won't work; the second will never happen.

      July 22, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • balizar

      CNN cannot independently confirm reports of praying for rain will work because the government restricts access by foreign journalists.

      July 22, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
  14. lindaluttrell

    I have always admired farmers and cattlemen. Instead of a desk job, with a guaranteed paycheck, they chose to feed this country. They do this year after year, knowing full well that they are at the mercy of the weather. I cannot begin to imagine how helpless they must feel knowing there is little they can do to fight the elements on such a vast scale. When you see your "livelihood" drying up before your eyes daily, you will seek comfort and solace any way you can to come to grips with it. If this man's belief system comforts him in this time of need and gets him through this difficult time in his life, then I have to respect that and not criticize him.

    July 22, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • Ryan Goodman

      Thank you Linda. And I appreciate the words of support. Just hoped to give you a little insight with what we're dealing with.

      July 22, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
  15. sam supan

    My friend asked his priest"Did man create God out of fear of unknown phenomena or did God create man".

    Son,if you don't have faith,none of my explanation will satisfy you.If you have faith,you wouldn't ask this stupid question ,his priest responded !

    So,if it make you feel any better for doing something,pray but don't expect any thing from it.It will rain when all factors of rain making are present .

    July 22, 2012 at 10:01 am |
  16. secularbear

    Is your god so stupid and incompetent that he has to be begged for something as basic and necessary as rain? That's the kind of performance that would get us mortals fired from a job.

    July 22, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • Bob


      July 22, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
  17. jhharvie

    "Pray for rain?" Seriously? Why not sacrifice a virgin to the rain god or something along those lines as well.....Some people are still living in 5000 BC or thereabouts.....

    July 22, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • UncleBenny

      It was a lot easier to find virgins back then.

      February 6, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
  18. Jt_flyer

    Stay strong! We'll get through this. Ohio has gotten some much needed rain in the past few days. Youre not far behind. Well get through this. We always do. Keep the faith.

    July 22, 2012 at 6:46 am |
    • FaithJn316


      July 22, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
  19. jeffblahblahblahhoover

    God sent me with a message;
    He said to tell you he "gets pissed when people aren't using their god-given brains to evolve intelligently, ie scientifically".

    He said he "hates superstition because it clogs up the creativity I programmed into their brains so that they could be like me. The geniuses among them show them their brains' potential and, seriously, no superstitious person will ever invent a microwave oven or TV remote. I really want people to continue to progress so I can see how far they can go. I'm really getting frustrated here!"

    I have a message for the superstitious/religious from God- who sent me- God is "pissed when you don't use your brain and you clog it with superstition". Stop it now or you will be "sent to the oblivion saved for those who do harm to his creation".

    PS Also, God said you are "Anti- America if you are superstitious/religious"
    PPS Also, God said to "quit wasting your time on me, I got it covered. Omnipotent, remember? Don't need anything. Thanks. Don't even exist if I don't want to...just get on with it like I originally intended and drop the unnecessary worship crap. Friggin waste of time..."

    God is pissed. This is your warning. God sent me.

    July 22, 2012 at 5:23 am |
  20. RichardHead

    Water,The next great commodity.....something all living mammals need.It doesn't matter whether it's Arkansas or Indiana,Birds, Fish,Dogs,Cats,cows,chickens,Frogs or whatever–we All need water. Fresh water falling from the sky is a God Send, unless it interferes with our cook outs,or House Painting,or soccer practice. Drought is something that happens in cycles–not scientific or it would be predicted in printed form each year. Yep, read the Farmers Almanac and tell me how accurate the water tables are.
    The drought will slowly work it's way North,into Canada and beyond,while leaving dry and parched land just like the Dust Bowl in the past. We cannot control the weather, or the Bounty of planted Crops. This is a crap shoot for our remaining Farmers,The toughest People I know of.
    Take your chances Folks-–The Earth will Always WIN.

    July 21, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
  21. bob

    Im gonna pray that someone will eat food

    ( time passes )

    OMG it works

    July 21, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
  22. The_Mick

    Pray for rain! And meanwhile, hide your thinking talents under a bushel and deny there's a good chance we've got man-made Global Warming going on and the solutions to it mesh with conserving the earth for future generations. Even before the term "Global Warming" was commonly known, it was well known that the south and midwest were short of water. In Kansas, where wells once needed to be dug 40 ft, by the 1970's they had to be dug 440 ft. because the underground lake, the Ogallala Reservoir was being depleted. Even then, politicians and scientists considered using Gulf of Mexico water to replenish it. Today, we could be spending "Manhattan Project" type money exploring improved ways of getting more fresh water from the ground and cheap ways of desalinating. We should be linking the water systems of adjoining jurisdictions and running pipelines across the nation. We waste 50% of irrigation water to evaporation and irrigation accounts or 60% of fresh water usage. But no, let's hide our talents under a bushel and not try to solve our problems: "Pray for rain and deny Global Warming."

    July 21, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  23. learnnottoburn

    Bible quote, If my people will humbly (in earnest humility) pray (seek and ask God to help) then I will turn to them and heal their land. Elisha prayed and it did not rain for three years. God told him to pray again and it rained but only after the prophets of bail were destroyed. Good and bad things happen to everyone but some things are a direct result of sin. This I believe is one of those times. God will help you through and or out of every situation. He has never failed, please do yourself a favor and do some REAL seeking and studiing and you Will find this to be true. This reminds me of that Steve Martin film " Leap Of Faith"

    July 21, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • bob

      That Story paints a pretty picture of random chance and probability. yes if you pray for rain on a planet where it rains, it will rain eventually ( weather you pray or not ) and wow someone said its because of praying it must be true right ?

      same tricks physics use to make you think they know something about you.

      July 21, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • sam supan

      Praying to God works,when I was in Amazon,I prayed for rain and it did every time.A year ago,I was in Sahara,I pray for no rain,it also worked,miracle does exist,praise the lord !

      July 22, 2012 at 10:19 am |
  24. aly

    It is beyond my comprehension how people can continue to put faith in the "power of prayer". I seem to recall that people prayed for rain last summer and parts of TX were still dry for more than 30 days.

    If people buy into the whole omnipotent power of a deity, then why can’t these same people accept that the deity created the drought? And, if the deity created the drought, then why would a prayer make it go away?

    In general, how is it that believers can use logic in their daily lives but as soon as a god enters the discussion, logic can be completely ignored?

    July 21, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • Glh41

      Why would a prayer make it go away? Maybe God is just waiting for us to acknowledge him and ask.

      July 21, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
      • Todd in DC

        Then God is an insecure child who deserves no thanks or worship.

        Seriously. Ever wonder why most of the natural disasters occur in the red states?

        July 22, 2012 at 1:24 am |
    • FaithJn316

      But without faith [it is] impossible to please [Him], for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and [that] He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hewbrews 11:6

      July 22, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  25. Ryan Goodman

    Thanks to those who read the post.

    I hope it gave some insight to how the current drought conditions are affecting farmers and ranchers across the country, not only my family in Arkansas. The impacts of this drought will affect us all in the form of a reduction in food produced during these times.

    July 20, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • Nancy

      makes me very sad...

      I am praying to the Lord for rain too. Like elijah....when the time is right....

      God bless you and yours and the USA.

      July 20, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
      • Peteyroo

        Right, one of Jesus's unicorns is named Elijiah. They're out in the backyard roughhousing with the leprechauns. No need to pray for us here in the good old USofA. We do just fine without the religious mumbo-jumbo, except for those pesky evangelicals who spend their time condeming everyone for just about everything. If they spent more time being loving than being hateful, they'd actually be tolerable–maybe.

        July 21, 2012 at 10:13 am |
      • secularbear

        Ascribing meteorological phenomena to divine intervention is not only incredibly stupid, but it's just downright lazy.

        Want to learn about weather? Read some meteorological and atmospheric physics texts. I know that'll be a real change of pace from reading your usual biblical gibberish but hopefully you'll find the factual, logical, verifiable approach a little refreshing.

        July 22, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • Glh41

      Ryan, a lot of us join your family in its prayers for rain. God bless.

      July 21, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
      • Todd in DC

        I'm praying for more drought. ANd since I am more pious than you, MY prayers will be answered.

        Bwah hah hah hah ah hah hah

        July 22, 2012 at 1:26 am |
        • Glh41

          So this is what you do with your life? Make sarcastic disparaging remarks to people of faith on an anonymous website? Sort of a pathetic existence. I hope you realize your need for God before its too late.

          July 22, 2012 at 10:02 am |
        • FaithJn316

          "...there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts..." 2 Peter 3:3

          July 22, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
        • UncleBenny

          "There shall in that time be rumors of things going astray, and there shall be a great confusion as to where things really are, and nobody will really know where lieth those little things with the sort of raffia-work base, that has an attachment. At that time, a friend shall lose his friend's hammer, and the young shall not know where lieth the things possessed by their fathers that their fathers put there only just the night before, about eight o'clock. " Life of Brian

          February 6, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
    • dawg

      I've also really admired farmers. Something special about living directly off the land. Praying for rain. God bless.

      July 23, 2012 at 10:04 am |
  26. plowman

    God does send rain and God does send drought. Things will only get worse. You lukewarm Christians, repent of your lawlessness and self-righteousness. You atheists will someday bow to Him. Better now than later. The earth belongs to God because he made it. He won't put up with rebels forever. The window for forgiveness will close. I advise you to NOT pray for rain, but pray for your souls.

    July 20, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      Plugman, I advise you not to pray for anything since it doesn't work. Instead of wasting your time praying, I suggest you get out and do something. Jesus, the Tooth Fairy, Santa, and I will be sitting in a local bar playing darts, drinking beer, and eating pretzels while we laugh at you and your foolishness.

      July 21, 2012 at 10:07 am |
      • Todd in DC

        That's why I worship the Flying Spaghetti Monster. All hail his wondrous noodleness.

        July 22, 2012 at 1:27 am |
        • FaithJn316

          "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved". Acts 4:12. "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."
          Repent and believe in Jesus. There is still time for you.

          July 22, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Todd in DC

      I quintuple dare god to send a meteor and smite me. Come yahweh, you wussy little deity. Hit me with your best shot.

      Lets see what happens, huh plow boy?

      July 22, 2012 at 1:29 am |
      • FaithJn316

        Be careful what you wish for

        July 22, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • secularbear

      My god can beat up your god. I believe in a god with six lion heads and eight arms. He spake thusly to me: "go on CNN and speak of my powers." And then it rained Miller Lite.

      Really. It's true. Someday you'll be punished by my six-headed lion god. You'll see! Fear him.

      July 22, 2012 at 9:38 am |
  27. CWL

    Paying attention to environmental issues will probably be more productive than praying for rain.

    July 20, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
  28. JIm P.

    "...farmer prays for rain..

    And here we see a day or tow later, the drought has ended..prayer obviously works every time..oh wait, a late bulletin has just arrived: The drought continues, no rian in sight anywhere near fervent prayer farmer. This clearly must be a mistake.

    Now of course, when it does rain, even if it's six months form now, those who prayed will claim their prayer was answered.

    I prefer the old joke: Pastor: "OK folks how many of you believe if we pray for rain, we will get rain?" All hands go up. "OK, no, how many of you brought umbrellas with you to this prayer service?" No hands. "When you believe enough to bring an umbrella, come back."

    July 20, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
  29. c s

    Everyone will be affected by this drought, some a little bit and some greatly. Probably the only way it will end is when a big hurricane develops in the Gulf and hits Texas. The people of Texas will suffer from the rain and wind and water surge but their farmers will be helped. I imagine that all of the people praying for rain do not realize that some others will pay a high price and might die for it to end the drought.

    When I lived in Florida, I used to see the Everglades drying up and my Dad said only a hurricane can fill it up again. He was right of course but it meant some people would suffer greatly and maybe die. Such is way of nature.

    July 20, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
  30. Piranha

    Invest on a big hole in the ground to catch the rain when they come or hire a rain dancer quick. Prayers and seeding the clouds would also help. Of course there's $$$$$ involved, but you can just sit there, do nothing and fry.

    July 20, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  31. Data1000

    You'd think someone else would have already prayed for an end to the drought before so many crops were lost.

    July 20, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
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