Idaho farmers may have a tough row to hoe

Posted at 5:44 PM, Apr 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-27 20:09:26-04

No rain Thursday in the Treasure Valley, which is good news for farmers.

Many are behind schedule because of "mother nature," and all the extra moisture could mean yields will suffer.

As Six On Your Side explains, there is potential for a negative economic impact that could ultimately drive your bill up at the grocery store.

You could hear plenty of birds chirping just outside the Dorsey residence in Caldwell Thursday. What's missing, though, is the sound of farm equipment in motion, which is usually the "norm" for all types of farmers this time of year.

The majority are a month behind their usual planting schedule. Others who have placed seeds in the ground are waiting for the temperatures to rise so their produce starts to grow.

According to the president of the Canyon County Farm Bureau Federation, some fields that lie in the Boise River Flood Plain won't be farmed all together this year because of all the extra moisture.

"Ever since I've been around, this is the worst, wettest winter I can remember," says Matt Dorsey, who is also a farmer in Canyon County and has been for the last 25 years.

Dorsey already has his mint and small grains planted. But, plants rely on heat so much throughout the growing process that without it, Dorsey says, the quality and quantity could be negatively effected.

Not only could a slow start to the planting season end up impacting the number of jobs that go along with harvest and distribution but demand paired with low yields could drive prices up at the grocery store.

"Canyon County is kind of the seed 'mecca.' We produce the seeds that go all over the world," Dorsey says. "Every industry in Canyon County, our dairy industry and our sugar industry and onion industry, we do very well here... we have the perfect climate. We can control our moisture, in years past, maybe not so much this year, but we can really maximize our growth potential."

The one area that's benefiting from this cool and wet spring weather is the damaged Owyhee Mountains. That is where the Soda Fire burned more than 400-square-miles. The weather conditions are perfect allowing for the native grass planted as part of a rehab effort to thrive.