Valley farmers encouraged by recent rainfall, more water still needed

Saturday, January 7, 2023
Valley farmers encouraged by recent rainfall, more water still needed
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The rain we've received from all the recent storms has Valley farmers breathing a sigh of relief, but they're not in the clear just yet.

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- The rain we've received from all the recent storms has Valley farmers breathing a sigh of relief, but they're not in the clear just yet.

The series of storms to start the new year is a welcome sight for valley farmers.

"We find ourselves at 174% of snowpack which is exceptional news," said CEO of Fresno County Farm Bureau Ryan Jacobsen.

While the added moisture is helpful, growers says they're hoping it's just the start.

"The most critical numbers we look at as farmers is that April 1 average, and we're only 60 to 70% of the way there," added Jacobsen.

Amid a statewide drought, there's still a long way to go when it comes to rain totals

"We're in this really big hole that we're trying to dig ourselves out of," explained UC Merced Professor of Climatology John Abatzoglou. "An individual rainstorm can help, we string together several of them that helps quite a bit more."

Daniel Hartwig is the director of sustainability at Woolf Farming in Fresno. He says during periods of heavy rain, storing the excess is crucial.

"Having recharge basins and being able to recharge aquafers is really critical because those aquifers, that's what gets us through our dry years," said Hartwig.

They're also utilizing every day of sunny skies to keep on schedule.

"If you're behind, this rain is going to set you back further," explained Hartwig. "We're grateful for the rain, but it's imperative you're keeping up on your prep work."

Now they're waiting to see if this recent cycle of rain and snow will last.

"We still have a very good snow pack, but we need to see additional storms come in for the year," said Jacobsen.