Farmers Hopeful About Upcoming Growing Season

Farmers Hopeful About Upcoming Growing Season

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Even though spring is here, there's still snow on the ground in many parts of the north country. 

While there was more snow this winter than last, it may not be enough to help out farmers just yet.

Jay Canzonier of North Branch Farms in Belleville is hoping for more rain this year after a tough 2016 growing season.

"Last year was exceptionally dry. We don't need to see that again, between the wells going dry and the neighboring dairy farms having trouble with their crops," he said.

More than two dozens counties in New York, including in the north country, were designated as drought disaster areas last year. 

Agriculture experts say it's too early to know how this season will be, even though there has been more snow than last winter.

"We're still operating at a deficit as far as groundwater resource goes, but if we have a wet spring, we could work out fine," said Jay Matteson, Jefferson County agriculture coordinator.

Jefferson County's Soil and Water Conservation District is monitoring how much water goes in the ground. 

The key this spring: gradual snow melt and consistent rain.

"Slow runoff is what we want to see so that we get a lot of infiltration, and a lot of slow, steady rain showers hopefully too," said Christine Watkins, executive director of Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District.

Canzonier says he's keeping an eye on his corn fields until the ground is dry enough to begin planting.

"Watching the snow melt, trying to get all the equipment ready and crossing our fingers that this is a good season for everybody," he said.

Canzonier says his field work typically begins in mid-April, so there's still time for farmers like him to plan before growing season begins.

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