You may like all the sunshine we've had here recently, but it's not good for local farmers. Agriculture is one of the biggest industries in Ohio and the recent dry streak could soon pose serious problems for some crops. A lot of farmers have irrigation systems for their fields, but they are expensive to operate and some farmers are having to run them sooner than usual this year.
It was hot unusually early this year and now it is dry. Not a great mix if you're growing crops. Jeff Creque is a Sylvania farmer, "I'm 59 years old and been farming all my life some years are good, some years aren't, so you take what you get and hope it averages out."
The corn at Creque's farm in Sylvania looks good, but it is in serious need of water and soon, "Right now we've got corn that is almost shoulder high and last year at this time we were just getting it in the ground, now we need rain. We're not at the critical stage because there are no ears yet, but the corn sure is struggling."
While they don't irrigate their corn here at Creque's farm they do water the strawberry plants. This year they had to start using the irrigation systems earlier than usual and they pump about half an inch of water onto the strawberry crop every other day, "The strawberries we've had to water more than we've ever had to and it adds cost, but it's the only way you get a crop. People wonder why the produce sometimes costs more and that's because it costs us more to grow it in year's like this."
Tom Strain has been farming all his life, "We raise a little bit of everything sweet corn, cabbage, peppers, pumpkins, gourds, tomatoes." In his decades of working the land, Strain has only seen a weather combination like this several other times. His crops are all in good shape right now thanks to the irrigation equipment, "We put about an inch and a quarter of water on this field of sweet corn and cabbage last night and 7-10 days from now we'll have to come back and do it again if it doesn't rain."
There is a chance of rain in the forecast Sunday into Monday,but it probably won't be enough to make up the shortfall. Strain says in a perfect world crops would get about an inch of rain each week.