With the whole southeast in the grip of a severe drought, Alabama Governor Bob Riley declared 40 Alabama counties a disaster area. Governor Riley also declared a statewide Pray for Rain campaign this past week.

Don Wambles is the executive director of the Alabama Farmers Market Authority. He encouraged Governor Riley to make the proclamation. Mr. Wambles joins us now from Troy, Alabama. Thanks so much for being with us.

Mr. DON WAMBLES (Director, Alabama Farmers Market Authority): Good morning. Glad to be here.

SIMON: And as you see it, did the prayer have discernable effect?

Mr. WAMBLES: Absolutely. We heard numerous radio stations, preachers, different congregations talking about that Governor Riley had issued a proclamation and encouraged their congregation to start praying for rain, and we've seen the difference. I want to thank Governor Riley for his willingness to call on the people to come together collectively and pray and ask God to send that rain.

And our people did do the thing that Scripture tells us to do. They humbled themselves. They recognized that we are dependent on God for that rainfall. And as a result, we have seen showers this week that has just changed the landscape. But it was amazing that just absolutely no rain for weeks on the end and once the people started praying and asking the Lord to send the rain, it's started coming. So it's exciting whenever you put your faith and trust in him and you see him answer those prayers.

SIMON: Mr. Wambles, can you recall past periods of dryness when people have asked for prayers for rain?

Mr. WAMBLES: Yes, you know, I've actually been part of some of those small gatherings where people come together at a specific time on a specific day of the week for one purpose, and that was to pray for rain. But it's not only for our farmers and our agriculture but we don't realize how much - if not for our lakes and our rivers that we're dependent for hydroelectricity. And our power companies have even had to look to alternative sources to generate the power.

SIMON: Hmm. Are you going to continue to pray for rain?

Mr. WAMBLES: Oh, absolutely. We've had those showers right at my home since last Friday. We've had almost four inches. The ground is way at about an inch and a half to two inches deep. It's dry after that. So much of our state is 15 inches deficit. The extreme northern part of the state is close to 20 inches below where it should be for this time of the year. We did not get in to this drought situation overnight, and we certainly will not get out of it overnight. So we're going to continue praying to rain, and when God sends it, we're going to thank him for every drop that he sent.

SIMON: Mr. Wamble, thanks so much for speaking with us.

Mr. WAMBLES: Thank you.

SIMON: Don Wambles, executive director of the Alabama Farmers Market Authority.

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