Local farmers worry record rainfall could hike crop prices

Local News

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — This summer’s record rainfall is giving local farmers fits. 

The National Weather Service says the Richmond area got more than 19 inches of rain since June of this year, more than double the amount that fell last year. 

Farmers told 8News that these weather patterns could threaten food security. 

Farmers from Byrd Farm in Goochland County look forward to enjoying the fruits of their labor as they sell vegetables and fruits each year. 

Heavy rainfall throughout the Commonwealth is putting a damper on their product. 

“We lost a lot of strawberries, potatoes, tomatoes, it was just too wet and the timing on it was just wrong,” said Deb Stoneman of Byrd Farm. 

Soybeans are one of the largest field crops in the region but the rain is either drowning them out or preventing farmers from planting them. 

While plants need rain, farmers say too much of it causes a trickle-down effect of problems. 

“If the fields are too wet,” Stoneman said, “you can’t go out and harvest, you can’t plant, you can’t operate machinery.” 

Toby Vernon, with the Community Food Collaborative, also spoke with 8News. 

“The weather patterns that we experience right here in Richmond, definitely affect the person that’s looking for really locally produced food,” Vernon said. 

Consumers who prefer buying food directly from a local farmers market could see a hike in prices. 

This is leading farmers to find ways to keep this from happening and producing quality products when the rain doesn’t let up.

“Our strategy has been to make change into using our high tunnel and using indoor growing techniques,” Stoneman said. 

Local farmers told 8News they are planting Fall crops like collards and carrots and are keeping their fingers crossed that Mother Nature cooperates. 

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