Late winter hurts Utah farmers

UTAH (ABC4) – Late winter weather has done more than mess up Utah’s roads, it’s also had a big impact on farmers.

Jake Harvard of Harvard Farms said what he loves most about farming is also the hardest part.

“There’s always something to do with mother nature and that’s kind of part of the deal with living in Utah as well,” Harward said.

Luckily for Harvard, his alfalfa is robust and he hasn’t started planting his corn, pumpkins and melons, but for cherry growers like Tami and Lewis Balzly with Fowers Fruit Ranch, it can be heartbreaking.

“It’s been a long day. We had 24 hours of cold temperatures, not much sleep,” Tami said.

Tami said this time reminds her of what happened more than 20 years ago.

“The worst in 30 years was 2001 and it looks a lot like that,” Tami added.

Tami said last night’s snow actually helped insulate the crop, but if the temperature drops and there is no insulation, the cherries could die.

While Fowers Fruit Ranch has heating equipment to help, the Balzlys say it can only raise the temperature 2 or 3 degrees.

“It’s not a salvageable situation by any means,” Tami said.

Now all farmers can do is prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

“We stay positive knowing there are brighter, warmer days ahead and we love providing fresh fruit to individuals and families who need it most. With every bad day comes hundreds of other good days! Farming is challenging and to say we’re not playing is a huge understatement, but it’s important, necessary and most importantly, it’s who we are,” Tami said.

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