Storms causing some issues for Central California farmers

Wednesday, March 15, 2023
Storms causing some issues for Central California farmers
Some local growers may be getting too much of a good thing during this latest round of storms.

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Some local growers may be getting too much of a good thing. The rain hitting California has been mostly positive for farmers, but they are still seeing some negative impacts brought on by the storms.

Farmlands across Central California are getting soaked. The seemingly endless series of storms comes at a time when growers were bracing for more drought.

Ryan Jacobsen is with the Fresno County Farm Bureau. He said, "Now, to go from what was potentially going to be a fourth dry historic year to now potentially the wettest year on record is just unbelievable."

Jacobsen said the rain and strong snowpack are good for farmers. "Right now things look fantastic," he said.

However, the weather is also causing some concerns like the hail damage in parts of the Valley.

Jeff Aiello captured video of gumball-sized hail on Monday in Madera County.

"By far the most significant threat we have here in the valley is going to be hail, depending on which cloud you're under, it can absolutely devastate, wipe out a complete field," Jacobsen said.

According to officials, the extreme rainfall has made pollination very complicated because bees aren't able to fly.

Plus high winds toppled trees, which take three or four years to produce again.

Firebaugh farmer Joe Del Bosque was scheduled to plant tomatoes on Tuesday, but that didn't happen due to the weather.

Del Bosque said he can't get plants in the ground because it's too wet, and the additional rainfall could delay his harvest.

Del Bosque is calling on lawmakers to plan ahead. "Our state needs to invest infrastructure to be able to handle those kind of changes and adapt our state to the new type of climate we may have here in California," he said.

Doug Fluetsch with Fluetsch & Busby Insurance in Merced said many of his clients are in the Ag industry. So, he's are watching the forecast very closely.

Fluetsch said crop loss will be the number one claim this year above flood damage. "It will exceed building damage or vehicle damage or anything like that. It will be by far the number one loss," he said.

Farmers are waiting to see what the forecast will look like in the next several weeks, hoping to dry out and get in better shape ahead of the busy spring.

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