WASHINGTON COUNTY, Va. - Right now the area is seven inches above normal for rainfall -- that's both good and bad for our region's farmers.
It's good because we might need that surplus in the hot summer months ahead; it's bad because farmers can't get out into the fields.
As we found out, it's not the rain that is of concern, it's the cool temperatures.
Fields are plowed and planted, but this time last year corn was emerging. Of course, cool weather crops like peas and cabbage are doing well, and so are the onions.
Hay, on the other hand, is growing, but not like it normally does. "I'm careful not to complain about rain because I've found it's better to have it than not have it. But the bigger issue probably more than the rain is the cool weather," says extension agent Phil Blevins.
"It's been so cold hay is going to be short. I believe orchard grass is heading out pretty short unless it just keeps growing. It'll change when the weather gets up in the 80s, things will look a lot better," farmer Sam Rock said.
Pastures are green with plenty for cattle to eat, but vegetable growers are just a little behind. "We 'reprobably about two weeks behind doing our [work]. We've got about 25 acres of field corn in and a couple of acres of sweet corn, a few beans. We planted some beans Saturday if it's not too early or too cold," Rock said.
For most vegetable growers time is of the essence so they can get those crops to market first and fresh for the consumers. "This time last year we were done planting corn and we had sweet corn up. We got potatoes, they're up we got them in early. I guess we're as far along as everybody else or anybody," he says.
But there's one place the farmer would rather be than talking with a reporter. "We need to be in the fields is where we need to be. I can't complain about the rain I reckon," Rock added.
And as the saying goes, just wait a couple of weeks and things will change.
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