Casa Grande family struggles to keep 93-year-old farm running amid megadrought

Farmers across the Southwest continue to deal with the impacts of the ongoing drought. For one farm in Casa Grande, it's pushing a woman to the brink to stay in business.

"These canals have been completely dry for six months at a time because of the drought, so it's nice to see water in it," said Nancy Caywood of Caywood Farms.

The fifth-generation owners of Caywood Farms, which is about 40 miles south of Phoenix, say they're worried about water. The Southwest has been in a megadrought for decades.

"I remember my granddad talking about drought, but that was never bad enough to where it didn't support them on this farm. And I don't recall him just, you know, experiencing the megadrought that we've experienced," said Caywood.

They pay for water from the Gila River and Coolidge Dam. They also rely on rain, which has been scarce for years.


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Six months ago, Caywood Farms in Casa Grande was dusty, dry and brown. Now it's wet, muddy and most importantly - it's green.

"There were a few those periods in the early eighties, in the late 1990s, where we had, you know, six out of ten years in a decade, saw really wet conditions," said Dan Mcevoy, climatologist at the Western Regional Climate Center. "And we haven't seen that in a long time."

"This is fallow. This is 80 acres that we leave fallow because of the lack of water," said Caywood, pointing out all the bare land on the farm.

The Caywood family decided to stop planting cotton and to instead harvest quicker-growing crops like silage corn, barley and oats, which use less water.

"Food grows where water flows," said Caywood. "The fact that my granddad bought this farm in 1930, we don't want to lose it. We want to keep farming it and keep up our family tradition."