Fallon Area Farmers Adapt to Drought Conditions - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Fallon Area Farmers Adapt to Drought Conditions

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After four years of drought, many farmers in the Fallon area are leaving their ground bare, so they can use their water in other areas.

Fallon farmers will only receive 21% of their normal allotment. "Our family's been farming in Nevada for over 160 years and we've never seen a drought this bad. And it's gotten progressively worse, every year."

Colby Frey farms 2,500 acres but he didn't plant any crops this year. But he does have 600 acres of alfalfa that grows annually. One field was supposed to have corn on it. "It's depressing. It creates a big dust storm. It's sad."

Frey will plant 2,500 acres of corn during a good year. He's planted a total of 15, this year. "When you have a full water supply, you see corn everywhere. There is no corn,” says Rusty Jardine, Truckee-Carson Irrigation District.

Fallon's irrigation was delayed by about two weeks after a levee failed at the Lewis Spillway. Luckily, that's when the area got some much needed rain. "If we could provide for some calculation of that value, it's like having another irrigation."

But with fewer crops Frey is finding other ways to make up for lost money. "We're gonna go to Yerington and chop corn for other people with our big corn chopper. We're going to go to California and plant corn for other people."

For farmers, water is as good as money. "We still have the same land payments, the same tractor payments, the same insurance payments. We basically have the same labor payments because we don't want to let our employees go. But we only have 21% of the income."

Jardine adds, "Our farmers, as I've always indicated are very resourceful. They are doing the best they can with what they've got."

Farmers know this will be another tough year. All they can do is hope for more rain and an overdue wet winter. "Hopefully, things will turn around next year, but there's no guarantee, for sure,” says Frey.

The irrigation season usually runs from March to November but it's a very different situation this year. It just started a couple of weeks ago and it's already expected to wrap up by the end of this month.
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