Valley farmers welcome the first winter storm of the season

FRESNO, Calif.

Rolinda farmer Dave Lewis hopes developing clouds in the sky bring rain. Lewis is spending $500.00 a month pumping well water to irrigate crops slow to mature. This extended dry spell has been frustrating.

"You know we get a rain every 10 days or something like that," said Dave Lewis. "Even half an inch, quarter inch because they're shallow rooted so quarter of an inch is plenty but not this year."

Parsley, carrots, collard greens and lettuce planted in October still aren't ready for harvest.

"The cold mornings, 19-degrees, 22-degrees, 23-degrees. It's cut off the production, it just doesn't want to grow," said Dave Lewis. "They're just sitting there."

Lewis normally sells produce year-round at local farmers markets and to restaurants. Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Jacobsen says grape growers have also been busy irrigating just to keep a little moisture in the vines.

Jacobsen explained, "Even though they're dormant and don't have a huge water requirement but they have some water requirement and it has been so dry and that cold weather has zapped any liquid out of the ground."

Dave Lewis says the cold dry conditions have even kept his normally hearty onions from growing.

Ryan Jacobsen of the Farm Bureau says it's important the storm brings not only rain, but snow in the mountains for future water use.

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