BLOOMFIELD, N.Y. (WROC) — The latest update to the New York State drought monitor (per July 8th, 2022) has most of Western New York and the Finger Lakes in the abnormally dry category. While this isn’t that unusual to see from time to time, local farmers are the ones feeling the effects of our changeable weather more often in their day-to-day life.
While last July areas across Western New York saw a large surplus of rainfall, this year including the summer so far have been abnormally dry with the Rochester airport running a rain deficit of almost two and a half inches for the year altogether. As a result, local farmers like Erin Bullock must put in the extra work just to care and maintain her crops.
Erin Bullock, owner of Wild Hill Farm says, “So, I’ve been farming for over a decade in this area, so sometimes there’s a drought year and sometimes there’s a flood year, and so it makes my job, like radically different and so we have to just be ready for anything.“
Rain events so far this summer have been very localized with places like Victor down the street getting flooded while others have seen little to nothing. Erin says to keep crops happy she needs about an inch or so of rain every week; something that has been severely lacking on her farm lately.
“So, we’re lucky to have a good irrigation system, so like we have onions in this field here and they need lots of water, so they would not size up into onions we probably wouldn’t even have a crop unless we irrigated them, so there are a lot of crops that just depend on irrigation,” Erin says.
Erin mentions that it’s been officially over three weeks since she’s seen measurable rainfall in her rain gauge onto the farm. When I asked her if that was normal, she said typical weather these days is out the window.
“Summer can be winter, and spring can be fall and the seasons are all screwed up. I think climate change has just made my job so much more challenging, so I think a three-week drought I’ve seen it before, so I know how to deal with it, but it still stresses the crops out,” Erin says.
When more time and money is being spent on watering the crops, it means buyers of local produce experience higher costs; something to keep in mind is a possibility the next time you buy from your local farm this season.