Farmers working in overdrive to keep crops healthy during rain deficit

EDEN, N.Y. (WIVB) — Local farmers are in overdrive right now, work is being done around the clock to make up for this rain deficit. One farmer says he hasn’t seen conditions like this in a long time, and his equipment is being used 24/7 to make sure his crops stay in good shape.

Mark Zittel, co-owner of Amos Zittel & Sons, said, “We had a couple little showers, and hey anything helps. I’d be happy with 6/10th of an inch this weekend if that’s all we can get, but it’s been a while since we had a good rain session.”

We first spoke to Zittel last month about the deficit. But since then, he says it’s still the same story.

“We have been going around the clock 24/7, for the 4th of July, we didn’t have a holiday weekend, and for Fathers Day, we really didn’t have a holiday, so hopefully if it rains we will have a day off or a couple of days off. But until then, we will keep watering so we can produce the crop that everyone expects.”

Right now, the area is running more than a 6 inch rain deficit so far this year. Zittel says, he hasn’t seen anything like this in a long time. “I think 2003, or 2002 there would have been another year like this”

Zittel’s farm is equipped with overhead and trickle irrigation systems to keep the crops healthy. But for other farm operations, they’re feeling the pinch.

“The field crop guys, the grain corn and the silage corn on the dairy farmers.”

For the consumer, this rain deficit will not be noticeable, but it’s taking a toll for those behind the scenes.

“We are spending a lot on electricity and diesel fuel, we have had a couple of mechanical failures when you run equipment that long, so they have been fixed or are being fixed, and it will add to our production cost. But it will still be the good tasty local produce that everybody’s grown to expect out here.”

Zittel says the deficit will probably not raise prices on produce, because vendors can buy the same products from other regions unaffected by droughts. The farms will most likely bear the increased cost of production. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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