From drought to wet weather, farmers benefit from the rain


    Bakersfield and Kern County have received significant rainfall so far this year. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

    The wet days across California recently have helped parts of Kern County get out of the drought.

    The rain has been a big relief for local farmers and growers whose businesses have been impacted by the lack of water.

    Rain, snow, and more on the way.

    Kern County Agriculture Commissioner Glenn Fankhauser says this year's extraordinary wet winter is a plus for farmers.

    "The amount of water that they can get from the sky is water that they don't have to worry about purchasing and so that helps their bottom line and allows them to be more sustainable," Fankhauser said.

    Exactly a year ago, California was in a drought. Right now, it’s not. So far, farmers in Kern County have received about 3 inches of rain.

    Chief Meteorologist Miles Muzio says the statewide Sierra snowpack is more than 100 percent of average for the year – a significant increase, as the state depends on the Sierra snow melt for water.

    "It's a big plus for farmers, it's a big plus for people, because we all (need) water and this is the only time of the year we get it. This is a climate that has a wet season and a dry season, if you don't get the rain in the wet season, then it's pretty bad, come summer," Muzio said.

    Fankhauser says after the many years of drought, any rain is much appreciated, but the wind is a minor setback.

    "The wind blows over established trees that have been around a long time and so then the growers have to replace those trees. So that's kind of a problem," Fankhauser said.

    Moving forward, Fankhauser hopes the state focuses its attention on building more water infrastructure. Until then, the wet weather is both a bounty and a bitter harvest for Californians.

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