Cold April delays local crops


TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – Spring weather is slowly making its way to the Wabash Valley, but not quick enough for local farmers.

The colder than usual April temperatures means a late start to spring planting – but how will impact what’s on your dinner plate? Elan Fisher usually offers more vegetables at the Farmers Market but today his table’s a little bare.

He’s currently selling left over crops from winter.

“It’s a little slow to get things started. We have planted a little bit outside but not a whole lot yet, because it’s been so cold and now it’s wet,” said Fisher, with Harmony Gardens.

While rain is usually a good thing, the cold and over saturated soil put a damper on spring planting.

“It doesn’t work too good without any rain but at the same time too much rain isn’t good either,” Fisher explained.

According to the Indiana State Climate Office, winter could stick around longer than normal which leaves farmers waiting for warmer days.

“It slows us down a little bit. We might be a little bit ahead of schedule and have a lot more plants outside this time of year typically,” said John-Michael Elmore, White Violet Center for Eco-Justice.

It’s not just your favorite vegetables; the beef industry is also feeling the effects of the long lasting winter weather.

“It is difficult for the animals because they have to use so much of their energy to stay warm, where as, in other situations where it’s warmer they might use their energy for growth,” said Diane Overpeck, Royer Farm Fresh Beef, Lamb and Pork.

The toll the weather takes on crops could ultimately lead to sticker shock at the grocery store.

“That even stems back to our dry summer the year before where cattle producers had to sell cattle just because they didn’t have enough to feed them,” stated Overpeck.

“If it’s real scarce in the spring than we may go up a little bit,” said Fisher.

Farmers are still looking on the bright side.

“The winter was cold enough that hopefully it will reduce some of the pests we’ve been fighting,” said Elmore.

“We do our best to deal with whatever circumstances we’re faced with,” adds Overpeck.

Farmers say they will be more concerned if the cold weather continues throughout May.

For dates and times on when the farmers markets are held you can visit this link.

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