Heavy rains create headache for construction workers and farmers across Fresno County

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The smaller, developing broccoli crowns should be ready to sell in two more weeks. But other crops are also showing signs of water damage. (KFSN)

While many of us are enjoying rainy days, the wet weather is dampening the construction industry across the Valley and is delaying some farmers from harvesting the citrus and winter vegetable crop.

Most Valley residents welcome the rain, but farmers are starting to see crop damage in the fields and construction workers are doing whatever work they can inside while rain falls outside.

The faint sound of hammering is one of the few noises along a normally bustling construction site in Clovis.

"It's actually killing us," construction superintendent Terry Matheson said. "There's a lot of stuff that we can't do on the exterior of these houses because of the mud and the water."

Matheson said he welcomes the rain, but his crews are at a standstill. They can't do projects like grading or cement work because of the soggy conditions. Building officials say projects across the valley are feeling the impact of the prolonged rain.

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Building officials say projects across the valley are feeling the impact of the prolonged rain.


Meanwhile, raindrops have actually pooled on top of the leaves at Neeng Tchieng's Fresno County farm. He welcomes the rain to help replenish the valley's underground aquifer but the recent storms have also caused crop damage.

"Pretty good for rain, but we've had some problems for the broccoli," he said. "They had too much water. It's not good for broccoli."

Dark spots on the crop indicate the broccoli is rotting. He can't sell it.

"Sixty percent do like that," Tchieng explained. "It's good on the outside but outside too much water and the beginning of rot."

Tchieng and his wife farm 24 acres by themselves. The smaller, developing broccoli crowns should be ready to sell in two more weeks. But other crops are also showing signs of water damage.

Their pain is shared with by Mike Prandini, the president of the Building Industry Association of Fresno/Madera Counties.

"It really slows down construction, it puts it to a halt," he said. "If you're doing grading or in the initial stages of development, it can put a two or three-week delay after the rains stop in order to get in and work on the ground."

Prandini says there is a financial impact to everyone from the hourly employee to the construction crews.

"They usually build in rain delays in a project on the winter, but this kind of rain for this long, this many days in a row can really impact and cost extra dollars," he said.

Many developers are anxious to get those homes built, so they can get consumers to buy. For now, it's a double-edged sword for those who are ready to build.

As for Tchieng, he drives his vegetables to San Jose and Moraga to make money to survive. No matter how soaked and muddy his field may get, he will still be out harvesting produce to meet consumer demand.
Related Topics:
weatherweatherfresno countyconstructionfarmingagricultureag watchhousingFresno CountyClovis
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