El Nino’s impact on area farmers: rain is a good thing

WEST POINT, Ga. – Whenever we have unusual weather patterns it ends up being a game of Russian roulette for farmers. This time it seems the lethal gamble is weighing in the farmer’s favor.

Eric Simpson works 19 acres of land in West Point and has everything on it from turkeys to goats and chickens. He also grows seasonal vegetables. He says he and the rest of the farmers in his network, “the West Georgia Farmer’s Cooperative,” are thankful for the El Nino weather pattern. El Nino translates into the little boy and it has been blamed for record warm temps and record rain fall.

Simpson says the craft of farming as a whole is a fine balance. If any type of weather gets off balance it can cause real problems for crops. However, he says since it’s collard green and kale season these leafy greens seem to be mighty happy with the way the weather has been behaving.

Simpson says there is still a little concern for the quality of the soil, “Some of those levels are just now getting back to normal so…Even though it did not affect the crops, so to speak, especially if they were in areas that are pretty much low lying and drain pretty slow..it may have caused soil erosion from the soil washing away from the excessive rain.”

As for the cold winter anticipated from here on out Simpson says it is welcomed too. He says a wet winter will help to rest and nourish the land so it’s ready to bloom in the spring.

Simpson says the ideal weather couldn’t have come at a better time for the West Georgia Farmer’s Cooperative. He says they are actually celebrating 50 years this year. He says they were founded in 1966 and they are proud of their heritage and are excited to host many events in 2016 to commemorate their beginnings and strong heritage. He says with the national resurgence of locally grown foods he says most of their farmers are able to sell all that they grow. He anticipates interest in their effort to only keep growing in the future. He also sees an even brighter next 50 years on he horizon for this co-op of farmers.

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