Rain having a positive impact on local ag industry

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Wednesday's storm is just what many Central Valley growers and ranchers were hoping for.


Following a dry year, growers say this week's rain will only benefit them.

"By far its just good to see the rainfall," says Ryan Jacobsen of the Fresno County Farm Bureau. "The rainfall is going to take care of the irrigation needs that had not been fulfilled in December, January, and February."

You might think the recent downpour would put a strain on just planted crops. For example, look at local strawberries, they are still developing, and that makes the crop better equipped to handle the weather then they would two weeks from now when they're ready to be picked.

"For the most part, they withstand this pretty decently. If you have mature berries when you have a rainstorm, it does completely wipe them out. But, we were right on the early verge of that. In April it would a lot more problematic," says Jacobsen.

Officials expect to see a surge in the ag industry over the next couple of weeks, as growers transition from wet rainy conditions to warmer weather in April.

"That's the one thing about this storm, its a couple of days in duration which we typically don't like to see this time of year, but because we know that dry weather is coming, it should be less burdensome on the industry at this point," says Jacobsen.

The wet soil will help across the board: tomato transplants are going in the ground right now and we're also on the verge of planting cotton.


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Wednesday's storm is just what many Central Valley growers and ranchers were hoping for.

When rancher Roger Tweedy looks out on the rolling hills of his 1,000-acre ranch east of Clovis on Wednesday he sees green, money he won't have to spend on hay for his herd of Black Angus cattle.

"It's a huge expense, said Tweedy. "I bought 5 truckloads of hay at almost $6,000 a truckload."

The rain is helping to reduce his need for hay and helping his cattle.

"When the grass is green like it is gonna be now, the cattle do very well on it because protein level is high in the grass," said Tweedy. "But when it is dry out, even when it's tall, they might as well be eating cardboard, because there's no protein in it, so you have to supplement protein for them."

You don't have to own hundreds of cattle to save. Ron Keene has three horses and the green grass is helping. "We are getting a little bit of a break. We have a lot of grass in the north 40 and the lower 40 there is a lot of good grass out there."

Folks at the Hay Company also welcome the rain.

They say it doesn't really hurt sales because the grass doesn't stay green long enough to put a dent in their sales.

But at $15 dollars a bale, Roger Tweedy appreciates the help he's getting from mother nature. "The grass grows an inch around here, that's a lot of bales of hay."
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