JERSEY SHORE – Rain has been sparse lately in the region, and no one is more aware of the shortage of rainfall than farmers.
“We need rain right now” Scott Moore, of Moore Farms, Jersey Shore, said recently.
Moore thinks most of his crops still look good, but a bit of rain would certainly be welcome.
Her words were echoed by Linda Shirey, from Berried Treasures Farm in Linden.
“We could use a rain shot,” she says.
The lack of rain is not his only problem. The farm’s strawberry harvest hasn’t been plentiful this year, partly because of wet spring soil.
Her strawberries, she explained, developed black root rot.
“Unfortunately, we were told that it has been in the field for several years, so this field no longer has strawberries,” she says.
Tom Styer, of Tom Styer Farm & Market, Muncy, agreed that some rain would certainly be welcome.
He said his cole crop has been good so far, despite the dry weather, but early sweet corn is a different story.
“The rest looks good. I made five different plantations,” he said.
Tawyna Lovell of Cattle Hill Farms, Cogan Station also wants to see some rain.
“I think we’re starting to get into a drought,” she says. “We were able to make the first cut of hay. Corn is in question right now.
Lovell said his farm planted corn that was stored for livestock feed.
She noted that this year is far from the worst year she has seen for dry weather.
“A few years ago it was worse” she says. “We hope it (the rain) will come.”
Moore said “rain all day” would be welcome. His tomatoes and green beans are particularly stressed by the dry weather.
Shirey said she remains optimistic.
“You must be,” she says. “We rely on God and his provisions for us. It’s a disappointment, but you just have to take the good with the bad.
Dave Hartman, regional livestock officer, Lycoming County Penn State Extension Office, said it may be too early to sound the alarm about the lack of rain.
“We’re kind of getting into typical summer weather here, where the rain is patchy,” he said. “I’ve heard concerns from people that it’s too dry. Other places it’s not a problem at all. Right now it’s too early to tell. worry about a drought or a crisis.
He conceded that a few weeks of dry weather can be worrying.
“Generally, spring has been good for farmers,” he said. “So far, all things considered, it’s been a good season, just a bit dry lately.”
The weather is not the only concern for farmers who lament the high cost of everything, including fuel.
“We struggle with prices” Shirey said. “Fertilizer prices have doubled. Everything rises that touches us.