The wet weather we had in June was more than just a pain for beach goers. Farmers across the region have had to battle with over saturated grounds since June. Since June 1st, we have had over 17 inches of rain, which is over 6.5" above average.
Heavy rain affected when local farmers seed their fields, decreasing the time their crops have to grow. The ground water and moist conditions left behind by these heavy rains have also increased mold and rot rates in some crops. Some of their crops, such as tobacco, corn and wheat, are federally insured, giving farmers a way to recoup any losses due to rainfall. However, other vegetables and fruits, like strawberries, squash, tomatoes, and bell peppers, are not insured, and the farmers must foot the bill for any lost product.
The monetary hits some farmers are taking are north of $25,000, with some hits as high as $40,000. These losses are discouraging farmers from designating land for the uninsured produce. If consumers have not felt the hit to local produce yet, they may feel it soon. With fewer farmers planting fewer uninsured crops, consumers will have to go elsewhere to find the produce they need on a daily basis, with potentially higher costs due to shipping.
A great way to help these farmers in this wet season is to buy local produce. Go to farmers markets instead of big name grocery stores, or make sure to ask the produce managers in the grocery stores if they carry local produce. The more we can help these farmers out now, the less our wallets will feel the sting in the upcoming years.