Northstate farmers facing dry year with optomisim

Farmers expect impact to grain crop in Shasta County if dry weather persists through spring.

Northstate farmers are bracing for a dry season this year but hoping for the best at the same time.

Shasta County Agriculture Commissioner Paul Kjos said after the last drought ranchers and farmers in the region should be ready for another dry year, while also looking for mother nature to turn the tides this spring.

Right now the grain crop is the most at jeopardy. Kjos said they were planted earlier in the year and heavily depend on a wet winter and spring. He added the dry north wind does not help either.

Kjos said if the region does not get any decent rain some farmers will have to weigh whether or not the crop is worth harvesting this year. The snow pack is also a concern with some farmers facing possible water restrictions will local agencies later this year.

"It's a wait and see. We're not at a point now where it's a calamity and start screaming drought but we really do need to see those storms start coming in," said Kjos.

In other parts of the valley, the orchard crops need the rain as well, so they don't have to irrigate as much. Kjos said almond trees are blooming and bee keepers are moving down for pollination three weeks early.

That harvest could also be impacted as colonies did not get the full amount of time to build their numbers.

Kjos said those in the inter mountain areas, like Fall River Mills, are in better shape. The colder temperature is keeping everything dormant right now and the ground water will be good for the season.

While he was not ready to call Northern California in a drought, Kjos remained optimistic, stating a "Miracle March" would be welcomed and he looked forward to salvaging the season with later storms in the spring.

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