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Climate Change and Impact on Farming

Have you ever heard the saying “Knee high by the Fourth of July?” That’s what Farmers use to measure the success of their crops. Here’s what local Farmers are saying about how this year fared.

Weather Experts say the mountains in our region play a huge part in each season, but they note that there are both push and pull factors. On a bigger scale, these include ice freezing and melting, as well as Tornado Alley moving East. Meteorologist Tony Martin says this prolonged weather could be a result from the drought that was going on in the western United States.

Some Experts say they contest that this is not necessarily related to climate change, while others like storm chaser, Ron Shawley, say the data matches up. Shawley saying: “Now that we’ve had some rain, the crops were planted, they got in late. So it does have a big impact on the farming aspect of it.”

Cambria County Farmer James Benshoff says he thinks that the weather both from elevation and conditions is the biggest limiting factor on any farm and what you do on it. He says this season has been strange and tells us the dry and low temperatures may have slowed the growth of plants this year. Benshoff saying: “We pulled plants yesterday and got rained out. The soil was too wet, the plants were too wet. But the problem is when they get too big, they don’t go through the transplanter very well. So, we don’t have a lot of options. It’s like when you’ve got to play a football game, it doesn’t matter if the field is muddy or dry.”

Benshoff says the rain patterns are quote “Extremely Spotty” and have given farms like his more precipitation, while other farms, less than a mile away, much less. He says that there has been more rain this past week and the ground is wet enough to start growing cabbage. Benshoff saying: “Again the earth will do what the earth wants to do. Now, is that contributing to global warming, is that contributing with fossil fuels and emissions? Yes, part of it is. We know that.”

Weather Experts say that while fossil fuel emissions are one of the culprits, the Farmer says he believes the issue of climate change is not as severe as some say.

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