Friday, January 6, 2012

Lack of snow could hurt local farmers -

Nampa--Mountain snow is crucial to Idaho’s Agricultural industry. With our dry conditions should area farmers be concerned? They say, not yet. However, the deeper we go into harvest season the more cause for concern.

Sid and Wes Freeman of Middleton are fifth and sixth generation seed farmers. They said a lack of snow pack this winter is new territory.

“This time of the year is kind of weird,” said Wes, 19, who has grown up farming with his family. “I remember growing up that we’d be sledding on the hilly by the house or at bogus.”

Idaho Farm Bureau spokesman Jake Putnam said it’s dry, but don’t throw up the red flag.

“We haven’t had any snowfall or any rain in over a month,” Putnam said. “December was shaping up to be one of the driest months ever…until we had a little bit of rain toward the end.”

Rain and snow is crucial for Idaho farmers. They rely on mountain runoff for irrigation of their crops. Typically, the snow packed in the mountains during the winter melts through the spring and summer.

Area farmers say they’re not going to panic just yet, but the snow levels must rise January, especially February and into March.

Despite no snow, farmers remain optimistic for now.

“We will get the precipitation,” said Putnam. “We will get the snow pack…the reservoirs are filled to the brim, we got more than enough water for next year.”

Sid Freeman agrees.

“The odds are very good that we’ll pick up the necessary snow pack to carry through normal season,” said Freeman.

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