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Rain brings some hope to local farmers

crops growing.JPG
Posted at 6:43 PM, Dec 07, 2022

The light and steady rain that the Central Coast received over the past several days has brought a bit of hope to the agriculture community.

Although any rain is good rain, it's the light and consistent moisture that will make the largest impact on crop production.

If rain storms approach too harshly and downpour on the soil, much of it will not be retained by the soil.

"Think of it like a sponge, so if you got a brand-new sponge and you stick it under the faucet in the kitchen sink with the faucet going full blast, it's going to run off. If you let it drip, drip, drip, it's going to soak into that sponge," explained David Alford, Turri Ranch Farmer.

The goal is to not only water crops in the short term but also collect enough in the aquifers to irrigate over the long term, too.

The recent round of rain has allowed farmers to lay off on the watering but just for a couple of weeks, but the years of deficit are far from being filled.

"We consistently need groundwater, so we really want a recharge of the groundwater basin. Our crops can't grow based off the rain that falls in a given day, We have to pump water out of the fields and add that to our fields," said Brent Burchett, Executive Director of the SLO Farm Bureau.

Because those basins are at record lows, the impacts stretch farther than just the farmers. The effects trickle down to consumers all across the country.

"The amount of planting and the size of planting that we're able to plant has been significantly reduced. You can't put a crop in the ground and not have enough water to finish it out," Alford said.

The impacts of the struggles farmers face correlate to increased prices at the grocery store and low stock. This not only impacts California but the world because the state produces crops that are consumed globally.

Family farmers can't seem to rely on typical weather patterns that are not so typical anymore.

"I’m fourth generation farmer and I’ve had the benefits of looking backwards of all my family before me and normal, normal is definitely out the window," Alford said.