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Farmland across San Luis Obispo County ravaged by storms

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Posted at 6:18 PM, Jan 18, 2023

As a result of the recent heavy rainfall, the Central Coast is hydrated — the hills luscious and green and reservoir levels are getting higher. However, farmers explain that while they are thankful for the rain, it was too much at once.

Because of the atmospheric river event, the ground was already saturated by the time the most recent string of rainstorms hit.

“So basically everything, all the rain, was just runoff. It filled this ditch here completely and the last time that I had seen this run at full capacity and overflowing was back in 1995,” said Ryan Talley of Tally Farms.

Cabbage crops were damaged at Tally Farms in Arroyo Grande as a result of flooding and debris flows.

“The water overflowed, brought all the debris with it, flooded this field and so we’re going to lose this whole thing. We won’t be able to harvest any of it. It’s going to be kind of a big financial hit for us,” said Grant Talley of Talley Farms.

In Paso Robles, flooding also wreaked havoc on vineyards and farmland.

“It don’t feel very good. I don’t know. It just hurts,” said Anthony Silveira, Silveira Family Ranch owner.

Silveira estimates he lost thousands of dollars in profit due to the storm.

“I got like $5,000 worth of seed out there. Oats and fertilizer. It’s all washed away," Silveira said.

The Salinas River overflowed into low-lying farmland and pushed debris onto the property, destroying much of the Silveira Family Ranch Vineyard.

“The only thing that really survived is the onions. Everything else is gone," Silveira said.

Ranch manager Matt Merrill says they don’t know the extent of the damage.

“We’re going to find out. It just depends on what kind of damage we uncover as we go to clean things up. It’s been too muddy and too wet to really get in there and do anything yet,” said Matthew Merrill, Mesa Vineyard Management General Manager.

They also don’t yet know if they qualify for federal funding to assist with the cleanup effort.

“It’s been so dry and we were wondering if it’s ever going to rain enough again and then all of a sudden it all comes at once. It’s just like when it rains it pours I guess,” Merrill said.