Drought Watch Conditions Prove Costly for Family-Owned Farm Drought Watch Costs Local Farms

Maddie Mustion: Above average temperatures and little rain has forced Onondaga County under a drought watch. Local farmers are the ones paying the price. Operations Manager at Reeve’s Farms, Nolan Reeves, says the intense heat is costly.

Nolan Reeves: A lack of rain means I work harder, and I spend more money on fuel.”

Maddie Mustion: The farm has drip irrigation that allows them to use less water. This is only possible if there is rain to fill the farm’s water sources. Reeves says their farm has been one of the lucky ones.

Nolan Reeves: “We’ve been fortunate with the um, just with the thunderstorms and where they’ve, where they’ve hit us that we’ve been okay.”

Maddie Mustion: The Department of Environmental Conservation is urging residents to limit their water usage to prevent a severe shortage. In Baldwinsville, Maddie Mustion, N-C-C News.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC NEWS) – It has been a hot summer in Onondaga County. The heat, combined with the scattered thunderstorms, has created the perfect conditions for Governor Kathy Hochul to declare a drought watch. Onondaga County was one of the 21 counties in New York that were placed under the drought watch.

Residents in Onondaga County are being urged to limit their water usage to minimize the shortage in the area. Local farmers, however, can not adhere to those recommendations.

The intersection of Reeves Road and Fenner Road in Baldwinsville.
The entrance to Reeves Road that is the home to the family owned farm in Baldwinsville.
© 2022 Madeline Mustion

With the above average temperatures, Reeves Farms in Baldwinsville has increased irrigation. Nolan Reeves, the farm’s Operations Manager, says that this increased irrigation has used a lot of energy.

“I can put water on, but it just means more fuel, more work for me,” said Reeves.

Reeves Farms has local water reserves, like the Seneca River, that allows them to maintain their crops during dry spells.

The farm also uses drip irrigation on a majority of their crops. This waters crops directly at the root, which prevents evaporation and conserves water Reeves says.

There is a silver lining for Reeves Farms. They have been hit by the majority of the thunderstorms that have come through Central New York. This has taken some of the burden off of their natural water sources and saved them money on extra irrigation.

Corn growing in the Baldwinsville fields.
Sweet Corn is one of Reeves Farms most popular summer crop that they sell at their farm stand.
© 2022 Madeline Mustion

Reeves knows how some farmers who were not so lucky with the rain are feeling.

“In 2016, I don’t think it was a drought watch, but all those thunderstorms, they all missed me. I was running out of water then and I was getting real nervous,” said Reeves.

Although they have been lucky with some rain, the cost of the heat is evident. Reeves Farms hopes that they continue to get lucky with the scattered storms predicted in the next few weeks.

The Department of Environmental Conservation has provided tips to conserve water. They are urging residents in counties with a drought watch to limit their water usage to avoid a severe shortage.

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