ENVIRONMENT

Record-breaking water levels have been both a blessing and curse for Utah farmers

May 3, 2023, 2:17 PM

This years record-breaking runoff has made it difficult for Utah farmers to start planting their sp...

FILE: Near Fremont, Utah along Highway 72, a farmer cuts crop of alfalfa for uses on a nearby dairy farm. (Don Grayston)

(Don Grayston)

SALT LAKE CITY — This year’s high levels of spring runoff has been both a blessing and a curse for Utah farmers. 

Our record-breaking water levels have made the ground too wet for many farmers to start spring planting.

“I think with blessings sometimes come trials,”  says farmer Laura Holmgren. We’ve just had to compact two months of spring groundwork and planting into a couple of weeks. And it’s been a short couple of weeks,”

Farmers must decide whether to plant crops now and risk their seeds being swept away by spring runoff, or wait and face dangers that come from planting late in the season.

Now, farmers are hoping for sun and lots of it.

“Any other given year we might hope for a break in the sun and rain. But because water is such a resource to us this year, we would love long sunny days to help our crops catch up,” says Holmgren.

Though there have been challenges with flooding, Holmgren says having too much water is better than not having enough.

“We are certainly not here to complain about having water, it just has presented challenges,” said Holmgren. 

Utah’s farmers understand they are farming in a desert environment and are prepared for droughts and floods alike. 

Utah Farmers know that some years will present different difficulties, and Holmgren explains that,” we truly enjoy doing what we do, and that’s why we keep doing it.”

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Record-breaking water levels have been both a blessing and curse for Utah farmers