17-day dry spell impacts area farmers

Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 7:39 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Toledo is closing in on an all-time record for days without rain and some people are starting to feel the dry spell’s effect on their finances.

Dry, sunny days are ideal summer weather, but for some local businesses, the current climate is cause for concern.

“This year is very dry. You usually see this kind of weather in July and August,” said Jerry Van Houtte, a flower farmer who owns Gardenview Flowers.

On June 6, Jerry set up irrigation lines to keep his plants alive during what is currently the third-longest dry spell in Toledo history.

“Each row has a line that goes right next to the plants,” said Jerry. “Then we’ll turn the water on and let it run for maybe 6 hours, and it saturates really nice.”

It’s a challenge that farmers across the area are feeling.

“Everyone is struggling. It’s not just us,” said Ellie Van Houtte, Operations Director at Gardenview Flowers. “It’s a lot of farmers, a lot of people who grow vegetables, a lot of people who do different types of agriculture and farming.”

Ellie says it’s been difficult to find the necessary equipment for their irrigation system, and her father says it’s expensive.

“We can spend over $1,000 to $1,200 dollars a day just for water,” said Jerry. “It’s going to cost you a fortune. It just goes into your profits, but hey, you have to do it.”

The Van Houttes are spending their spring ensuring their pick-your-own flower farm and wedding flower business blossoms this year, despite the dry spell.

“You’re not only getting your crops planted, but you’re also thinking how you’re going to keep them alive. How are you going to sustain them until mother nature kind of arrives and brings us a nature bounty,” said Ellie.

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