Dry weather means different things to different farmers

Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 4:24 PM EDT
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TOWN OF CHAMPION, New York (WWNY) - Things are getting dryer in parts of the north country. We checked with local farmers to see how they’re faring.

According to the Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell University, this summer is drier than usual.

In Watertown, the average rainfall is roughly two inches below average. While this isn’t technically a drought, farmers say they’ve had to keep a closer eye on their crops, including mushrooms.

“I’ve had to do maybe a little more worrying about maintenance soaking. If I don’t pay attention, the organism dries inside the log and they won’t produce anymore,” said Liam Carney, who works at the Peacock & Pony farm.

The dry weather has been a point of concern at Sticky Dicks Honey Products in the town of Champion. Without rainfall, flowers won’t bloom and bee hives will turn against one another.

“If another hive goes into another hive and robs out the weaker ones, there’s a good chance that hive is done for the year and is probably never gonna make it through the winter,” said owner Mark Strife.

Thanks to their lakeside location, the people at Luff Farms near Three Mile Bay have been able to mitigate the undesirable conditions.

“We’re fortunate enough to be able to irrigate. We’re okay but plants always like to have water on their leaves even if you irrigate,” said co-owner Kurt Lanning.

Some farmers like John Peck in the town of Champion don’t have access to irrigation and are beginning to feel the lack of rain.

“There’s nothing to really do other than just hope and pray for rain and that weather conditions stay conducive to the growth of crops,” he said.

The saying goes: corn should be knee high by the fourth of July. But at Peck’s farm, it isn’t much taller than that.

For other farmers, the dryness has actually been a blessing in disguise.

“Last year we had too much rain. I lost my cantaloupe, lost my watermelon - pretty much my entire crop. This year we’re getting it when we need it,” said Loren Bush, Bush Gardens Farm owner.

For some, the dry weather is a blessing. For others, it’s a curse.

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