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Wet winter impacting local farmers

Posted at 5:45 PM, Apr 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-05 19:45:18-04

WEST WEBER, Utah — It’s official: Utah’s precipitation is fantastic this year, according to a new report.

However, it wasn't necessarily good news for some Utah farmers.

“It’s just wet. You know, there are wet spots down in there,” Ron Gibson said.

Gibson’s onion fields are over two weeks behind schedule. The shrinking window to plant his crop is almost over.

“When you get significant rain every three days through that whole system, we just never have enough time to get things dried out so we can get back in and get that done,” Gibson said.

It’s an unpredicted problem.

Six months ago, farmers across the state struggled under extreme drought conditions.

As of April 1, precipitation across the state averaged around 140 percent of normal.

A new report showed southern Utah’s having a particularly productive winter with as much as 203 percent of normal. Even with the lowest precipitation, the northeast Uinta snowpack is still at 115 percent.

“Statewide, this snowpack ranks substantially better than 2017 and almost as good as the banner years of 2005 and 2011,” wrote Troy Brosten, the hydrologist behind the report.

As president of the Utah Farm Bureau Association, Gibson knows he’s not the only farmer poised to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars if the soil doesn’t dry in time or if the nearby Weber River doesn’t flood his crops.

A quick spring warmup could cause major flooding downriver.

“If you’re a farmer, you have to have faith. We definitely believe in the miracle of agriculture. It looks like to me, this year we are going to need that morale to get things done,” Gibson said.