Rain Is Good News for Valley Crops

January 6, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
From skiers to growers everyone says the storm totals have things looking up. The worst of the storms came in Friday night flooding streets and orchards.Keith Nilmeier, orange grower, says "We had water literally standing from one end of the road to the other. I thought the next morning, boy, we're going to have flooding in the low spots, but all the water soaked in, literally went into the ground, so that was a good thing."

Nilmeier farms 250 acres in Fresno County and says the storm brought less wind than expected and much needed rain and he's hoping for more.

He says his orchards have gotten about two and a half inches so far this season and he hopes to get at least eight more.

"We need a good deep snow pack this year, so it melts slowly as it goes through springtime. Not just a light snowpack where it melts quickly and then it's all gone," says Nilmeier.

Good news for farmers and skiers, the snow is packing up at Sierra Summit. The resort reports three feet in the last couple of days and all runs are open.

There's also good news for fruit lovers on the heels of last year's freeze. "For 36 years of doing the same thing, I've found after a frost, we usually have a good quality crop year after that. For the consumer, the consumer's probably looking at one of the better oranges they've had in the last 4 or 5 years- quality-wise, rind-wise and everything," says Nilmeier.

Nilmeier says while he wants more rain, he doesn't want any hail. He says that could do the most damage at this point to his crop.


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