Tulare County farmers band together after recent storms cost millions

Vince Ybarra Image
Saturday, March 18, 2023
Tulare County farmers band together after recent storms costed millions
It's a billion-dollar industry that's being impacted by aggressive water. Now data from farmers is showing how bad the recent storms have been for business.

TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- It's a billion-dollar industry that's being impacted by aggressive water. And the ag commissioner's office is collecting data from farmers to understand how bad this storm has been for business. It's been a chaotic week for farmers in Tulare County.

We got video from farmer Mike Frings. It shows how destructive the water is. He has land east of highway 99. Thankfully, he said he hasn't had any flood issues. But other farmers around him have experienced the impacts of the atmospheric river storm. And Frings said the loss is in the millions.

He said the dairy farmers scrambled to get their cattle out of the area. Water levels have lowered since yesterday. But Frings is still worried.

"My concern is for breaks upriver. If it breaks upriver, further north, that's gonna get to me," said Frings.

He said farmers took matters into their own hands by building a three-foot wall so water wouldn't overflow into more land.

"It was a whole community effort. I mean, every neighbor. Everyone came with loaders and dump trucks and concrete and dumped it up." said Frings.

Meanwhile, Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner is working with the Sheriff's Office to assess the damage from the storm.

"We spoke yesterday with the sheriff to let him know that we're starting that effort of gathering data and estimates of potential loss." said Greer.

Assistant Agricultural Commissioner Christopher Greer said the heavy rainfall will decrease pollination. That's just one of the ripple effects of flood -- it will take time to understand all of the long-term effects. But there is a silver lining with all this extra water flowing through the county.

"Hopefully, it will bring to light of infrastructure. Water storage that we really need in the valley." said Greer.

He said that understanding will help continue producing crops for the world.

Greer said the ag industry is resilient. Although there are considerable losses, he says it's been great to see dairy farmers help each other during this catastrophic time.

To report livestock or crop damage, click here. If it happened in March 2023, click here.

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