H-SANTA MARIA

Dec 24, 2010 1:49 AM by Ariel Wesler

Recent storms destroy Santa Maria crops

The record-setting rainfall has taken its toll on many farmers in Santa Maria. Harvest crops like broccoli, cauliflower, and celery were among the hardest hit. While farmers say we need the water, they say this was too much too quickly.

For farmers, losing crops means losing cash.

"We probably had a net loss of a few hundred thousand dollars in crop damage," said George Adam, President of Innovative Produce. "We suffer a lot of water soaking and if it persists, then we have a lot more head rot that starts appearing."

The rain turned the soil into thick mud, putting tractors out of commission and making it more difficult for farmers to harvest their crops.

"This is the biggest week of rain I think we've ever seen in Santa Maria," Adam said.

Farmers say drainage systems have improved to help them get rid of the water, but this time it was too much.

"We put in a lot of pipelines over the years that evacuate water on a larger basis, and those work to a point," Adam said.

Still, it's not all bad news. The rain recharges groundwater and removes salts from the soil.

"If we can get through the short term damage, then sure it's a great benefit for the basin," Adams said.

Farmers say what they could use next is a little wind to dry out some of those vegetables. The president of the Grower Shipper Vegetable Association tells us all vegetable farmers in Santa Maria saw some kind of damage to their crops.

Meanwhile, cattle ranchers say the rain is great. It makes the grass thicker and taller for their livestock.

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