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Idaho farmers battle the ongoing drought

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WEISER (KIVI) – With Idaho’s long-lasting drought unlikely to end this year, local farmers are feeling impacts that could in turn, hurt those who rely on fresh local produce.

Tristan Winegar, fourth-generation Weiser farmer and President of the Washington County Farm Bureau, is committed to his family farm, despite challenges. However, last year’s, hot, dry spring was discouraging.

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As a state that relies heavily on agriculture, lack of water takes a huge toll.

“Last year it was windy in the spring, no moisture and it was hot, 110 degrees or so hot, and besides that, you have the uncertainty of the markets and the uncertainty of water, and if we don’t have water we can’t grow our crops and people can’t eat,” said Winegar.

Predictions of another dryer than normal spring, indicate there won’t be much relief from the drought.

“Now drought is something that’s mostly out of our control but we do the best that we can to control the controllable, so we are doing irrigation, like drip and pivots and stuff like that to try and conserve water, and inputs and fertilizer etc. but there’s only so much you can do with the water that we’ve been given every year,” said Winegar.

If the drought persists, it could result in a change to Idaho as we know it.

“Because we grow so much seed here in the Treasure Valley we can’t afford to have two or three years in a row of drought, and that’ll mean we’ll have to grow the seed somewhere else because the seed is so important,” said Winegar.

Having a limited water supply will continue to affect Idahoans from farmers to consumers alike.

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