By Doug Beretta, President
What a year for rain! I watch the news at night and listen to the weather reporters talk about Atmospheric Rivers. I feel like years ago they were just storms, and we had them all the time. But the last 5 to 6 years we have all been a little spoiled during our winter months. Low rain totals, mild temperatures and very seldom worried about getting equipment stuck in the mud. I think that is going to change this spring for sure. As I attend events with farmers and ranchers we all seem to talk about the weather. Sometimes it sounds like we complain a lot about the weather. It’s to dry, it’s too cold and now for the last month it’s too wet. I know down deep we are so happy about the amount of rain we have received this winter. We know in the long run this rain will be a blessing this year and in the years to come. Reservoirs are full or close to being full. Our pastures are good and wet just waiting for these longer warmer days to start growing. Our vineyards and orchards should be plenty wet to help the vines and trees thrive going into their growing season. Hopefully good things will come from the amount of rain but there will be challenges. Like all farming operations the good comes with challenges. On the livestock side silage is going to be harvested at least a month later then the last 4 or 5 years. Hay is going to be late also and lots of us are running low on hay and silage inventory. It becomes somewhat of a game if we can get cows out grazing pasture without destroying it because it’s too wet, but trying to get the best quality pasture for milk production on our dairy cows to weight gain on our beef calves. Or vineyard operations are watching their vines starting to wake up and grow but they will be challenged to apply crop protection materials because the fields are so wet. As one of our vineyard managers said “There is going to be a lot of shit stuck this year”. So I feel sometimes it sounds like all we as farmers and ranchers do is complain. But in reality, I think we are all just trying to figure out the different challenges that are part of farming. In the long run we needed the rain to make our businesses healthy and profitable but it also brings other challenges and problems. So if you hear us complaining about the weather, remember it’s just the way most of us are thinking about the challenges for the year ahead.