Ag producers hope spring brings rain

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DENVER (AP) -- After a three-year dry spell, Colorado agriculture producers are anxious to see if springtime will bring critical precipitation.

The Denver Post reports ( ) that because of the drought, hay costs about $300 a ton, about twice the normal price. And though that might sound good for hay growers, some say the long-term impact to customers costs more than the windfall.

Hay grower Jason Stanger says if prices get too high, customers will sell parts of their herd or get out of the cattle business altogether. He adds "that costs us more down the road."

State climatologist Nolan Doesken with the Colorado Climate Center at CSU says so far, long-term weather indicators for the West are inconclusive and the state is in a waiting game.

Without some relief, Colorado risks more wildfires, another crop disaster and a stalled economy.

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