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Historic Droughts Long Reach To CNY Farmers

Jeanette Lenoir, WIBX

Westmoreland, NY (WIBX) – They’re calling it the worst drought since 1956, and it’s spreading through most of the U.S. In the Mohawk Valley some farmers are already feeling the pinch of the extremely dry and hot weather.

George Joseph, Owner, North Star Orchard in Westmoreland says so far his crops are hanging on. “In a dry year it’s always challenging. We find ways to give the things water that need the water. Fortunately, we have high density crops, like tomatoes–highly concentrated, so we grow them on plastic and we have trickle irrigation and we grow them in proximity to a water source–so, those are little affected by the dryness, in fact it’s beneficial,” he said. Joseph explains that with a lot of water, comes a lot of opportunities for fungus to attack crops.

The droughts impact on other commodities is also a concern for Joseph. He said,  “If wheat doesn’t do as well, or if corn doesn’t do as well, it really transpires into other costs down the line for us, and of course corn is a food source for not only people, but animals, as well as ethanol for fuel,” he said. Although Joseph’s crops are holding up, he cautions that if things don’t change, the drought could do some serious damage. He said, “Corn crops throughout the mid-west are poor to begin with, they’re suffering the same drought, and if it continues this way for some of the farmers here, it could be likewise.”

Jeanette Lenoir, WIBX

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