Valley Drought 2014: Valley Farmers Say Their Trees Are Budding Early
Dealing with the drought isn't the only problem Central Valley farmers are facing. Plum, peach, and almond trees are starting to bloom.
"It's one of the times where it's good to be a farmer," says Selma Grower John Chandler, "However, you also bite your nails a lot, because you're hoping weather cooperates through the bloom period."
John Chandler farms in Fresno County. He says he's never seen such a dry, warm winter. With his fruit trees starting to bud, he's worried about what will happen if it gets cold.
"A freeze could come out and wipe out a lot of the bloom and cause a real problem for growers. We would see a real reduction in our crops because of that cost," adds Chandler.
While growers deal with trees that are blooming too early, their biggest worry is still the drought and making sure they have enough water.
"This year with the drought it's a love-hate relationship with the rain. We're desperate for the rain, we really want the rain, but we don't want it to affect our bloom," says the Selma Grower, "I think at this stage with such a high drought I'd be happy for what rain we get."
He says a ditch that runs through his fields will stay bone dry all year. Chandler adds that the best-case scenario now is that we get a lot of snow.
"This current drought we're in is catastrophic in not only how it affects the farmers, but all of our employees that work with us. If we're not able to get enough water to our crops than we will not remain in business," says Chandler.
Chandler says no matter what happens he'll have work for all of his employees. However, he warns that other farmers in the Central Valley might not. He also says growers will find out the full affect of the early blooming and drought as the year goes on.