While drought was a major concern for Connecticut farmers at the start of the year, their concern has now changed to flooded fields after a very wet week.
The concern mounting especially with more rain in the forecast.
Lisa Gilbert is a fifth-generation farmer at Gilbert Farm in Rocky Hill.
She said ideally she’d love her crops to get about an inch of rain a week, but 10 inches in just about 10 days has her worried.
“Mother Nature dictates everything,” she said.
They’ve had one field flood where they were to plant late-season crops. They had to change that plan moving that plating upland.
“Game of chess. We have a few acres were able to keep planting on.”
She’s also monitoring river levels.
“Most of our cropland, almost 30 acres worth of cropland, is down on the banks of the Connecticut River.”
Fran Whelan of Hayes Farms in Rocky Hill was checking in on his flooded cornfields.
“We got a lot of corn. A lot of water damage,” he said during a video call with the flooded cropland behind him.
“We can’t do anything about it right now. We’re just praying that the water recedes in the next couple days so that the crop won’t rot our its roots and die.”
In New Hartford, Gresczyk Farm lost a lot of its pea crop.
Henry Gresczyk took this video and shared it with NBC Connecticut. Their tractor’s tire almost entirely underwater.
While he can’t fix the damage already done, he’s now worried about the plant diseases that can come with these storms that could continue to cut their season short.
Connecticut’s Department of Agriculture Commissioner Bryan Hulburt cites climate change for these extreme weather conditions.
The state was concerned about drought not long ago.
Hulburt is asking farmers to report their crop losses to the federal Farm Service Agency if disaster funds are needed in our state.
Meanwhile, he hopes we’ll help support them too.
“It’s really important that Connecticut consumers, get out, visit your blueberry patches and farmers markets and farm stands over the course of the next couple of weeks.”
Back at Hayes Farm, Whelan’s not just concerned about his corn, but hay for his cattle too.
“We were so worried in April. April was so dry. We were worried about the growing season and now it doesn’t want to turn off this water.”
He and many other farmers are looking to Mother Nature to help dry fields out.
“Keep us in your thoughts and your prayers and maybe Mother Nature will give us some sunshine and dry things up a little bit and give us moderation in our lives,” said Gilbert.
If you’re looking for a way to support local farmers, visit CTgrown.org