Farmers welcome series of storms

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Not much work can get done on valley farms when it rains but growers will take the trade-off. (KFSN)

Not much work can get done on valley farms when it rains but growers will take the trade-off.

Farmers are no doubt encouraged by the storms lining up to pass through the valley. But at this point, it is just a good start.

A good soaking was just what Larry Cruff needed in his Selma vineyard. He grows 500 acres of raisin grapes. Cruff explained, "You see no water standing. It's been raining here all morning and outside a little bit here on the end the water goes down so good here."

Some of that water was soaking back into the underground aquifer which farmers have been relying on for too long. Cruff said, "We haven't had any surface water for the last three years now so everything's been pumped so it's definitely having an impact on what we're doing. I've probably drilled six or seven new wells in the last three years."

The wet fruit and muddy orchards meant a break in the citrus harvest. But farmers hoped to see the promise of El Nino fulfilled this season. Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Jacobsen said, "Believe it or not when we go above those 100% years and we're able to really put water back into the ground we can make some significant improvements to the groundwater levels."

But a few storms can't undo almost four years of drought in California. Jacobsen said, "We're not getting out of this thing year."

Slow, steady rain remained on the wish list.

Farmers were eager to finally give their groundwater pumps a break. Cruff said, "It's going to take weeks and weeks of this kind of weather to get anything going. It's all great but we're nowhere close to where we need to be."

Cruff said more storms were needed to recharge aquifers, ponding basins and fill reservoirs.
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