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CNY farm struggling through dry conditions and damaging storm

A rainbow above a corn field on Delaney Farms.
Delaney Farms
A rainbow above a corn field on Delaney Farms.

The summer weather in Upstate New York has been hot and dry this year, causing problems for local farmers. Yet excessively rainy seasons like last year are also troublesome for crops.

Some Upstate regions set records for rainfall last July, but this year many are experiencing varying levels of drought conditions.

While the region saw more showers in August, a forecaster at the National Weather Service Binghamton, Jake Chalupsky, said they actually haven’t been very helpful for most farmers.

JoAnn Delaney, the co-owner of Delaney Farms adds that conditions such as wind and hail can offset the benefits of rain.

“Farmers, they always ask for rain, and then sometimes it comes with the wind and hail as well. Luckily over the past couple of days, these rain showers and thunderstorms that have developed haven’t had any wind or hail with them, but they were unfortunately small in nature,” Delaney said.

Delaney said unless your farm is in the right place the recent storms don’t hit crops. The storm that did hit her farm in mid-July did more harm than good.

“It destroyed about 30 acres of sweet corn and it damaged all of our other vegetable crops that were on two of the farms that we own. So, it actually wiped out our first three weeks of selling sweet corn,” Delaney said.

Delaney said last year’s heavy rains weren’t any better for farming. This year they’re mostly struggling with their sweet corn crop, but last year was trouble for squashes and other ground crops.

“There was a lot of rain. Rain sets you up for pathogens to move in on your crops which lowers the quality and/or marketability. Definitely, a wet year is worse. I’ll tell you the quote that the old farmers say, 'A dry year will scare you, but a wet year will starve you,’” Delaney said.

Forecasters expect the widespread rain from Monday to provide some much-needed water without damaging crops.