Rain is welcome sight for farmers


Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune

Motorists travel through a flooded parking lot near the corner of Madera and Pecan Avenues shortly after the rain storm on Tuesday.

 

The latest storm to hit the Central Valley dropped more than a half-inch of rain and it came as welcomed sign to farmers.


“The citrus down south that is in harvest,” said Creekside Farming President Jay Mahil. “The storm is keeping people out of the fields to harvest. The masses are all wanting the rain and snow. It’s all positive right now.”


A storm Wednesday and Thursday was supposed to drop about a quarter-inch of rain, but there is rain on the forecast for next week, with about a half-inch of rain expected.


“Growers are happy,” Mahil said. “It was looking doom and gloom for a while. We had that atmospheric river come in. We had a storm come in and nothing for a month. It became so dry, we had to turn our pumps back on to irrigate. This is a really great treat to have. It came down slow and steady. i’m hearing reports of up to eight feet of snow. That’s what we’re really needing, that snowpack. That’s what we’re going to use to irrigate with in the summer.”


However, seeing the rain earlier this week with about 24 hours straight of precipitation is a rare sight.


“We haven’t had something like this in a long time,” Mahil said. “We had something close to it a month ago. I was driving around and there were storm drains plugged up. It seems we’re not used to rain anymore. We’re unprepared for this kind of stuff. Everything is going haywire, right now.”


Although the Central Valley might enjoy the rain, Mahil said he heard reports of up to an inch of rain an hour in Hawaii.


“We could use some of that right now,” he said. “We have to ask for this kind of stuff more often.”


However, despite the troubles people in the valley are having navigating through the puddles, Mahil says more water, the better.


“We want this to keep going as long as we can,” he said. “It’s been so dry for so long, it’s welcomed. There are a few places of standing water, but the next day, it will be gone.”


Mahil also points out that the rain comes at an almost perfect time for the farmers.


“Throughout Madera County, we’re pretty idle,” he said. “Most of the major production crops are idle. We’re okay with no damages.”


Although heavy storms may come, last week’s slow and steady rain was the best.


“We don’t want a downpour where everything runs off,” Mahil said. “We want saturation rain where the ground will percolate it and take it in.”


Contrary to some thinking, although there is rain, there is plenty to do for farmers.


“We’re still busy,” Mahil said. “We’re shut down with the rain. Once it passes, we have pruning going on. We have winter weed spraying. there is a lot of work to be done in the fields. There is a lot of paperwork to do in the office. There’s always something to do.”