Local News

Dec 8, 2009 7:41 PM by Stacy Daniel

Local farmers brace for freezing weather

As temperatures continue to drop, concerns rise among local farmers about the damage the frigid weather could cause to crops.
So, they're doing just about the only thing they can do.
They're calling on the help of vital farm equipment. Mother nature is expected to turn a cold shoulder to the Central Coast, complete with below freezing temperatures.
For farmers, that means, what's here today could be gone tomorrow.
Avocado and Citrus Grower, Rollie Cavaletto says, "About every 10 years we get hit pretty good."
Bracing for chilly temperatures is a common practice for him.
Cavaletto says, " We did have a frost 2 or 3 years ago and it wiped out all of the avocados that we had. The lemons can take 2 or 3 degrees colder temperatures than the avocado. So, it seems like in my particular area I'm starting over with the avocados way too often."
Cavaletto has been growing lemons and avocados on his Nipomo farm for more than 40 years.
When the temperature dips wind machines spring into action, pulling warm air, high in the atmosphere, down into the colder areas.
There are ten wind machines on Cavaletto's 100 acre farm.
"Just raising the temperature two or three degrees will make a difference between saving your crop and having it freeze" says Cavaletto.
They're a vital piece of equipment.
But, as luck would have it, just three days ago one of Cavaletto's wind machines broke down.
It can't be repaired unitil next week.
That means, about seven or eight acres of his crops will be unprotected during the impending cold snap.
But, Cavaletto says he's not worried, years of farming have taught him it's no use.
Cavaletto says, "You don't worry too much about what will happen because there's nothing you can do to affect the weather but you just be prepared to handle it the best way you can. And that kind of wisdom just comes with 40 years of farming? Cavaletto says, "Right. You realize that most of the time what you do doesn't have a lot of affect on what happens."
Billions of dollars worth of crops were destroyed two years ago in California when farmers were hit hard by a winter freeze.
If crops are lost because of a freeze, it's likely consumers will feel the chill of higher produce prices.

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