JAMESTOWN – The rain we received overnight is a welcome sight for farmers and residents across the region, but it’s still not anywhere near the amount that is needed to help relieve drought conditions.
Last week the State DEC declared a Drought Warning for much of New York State, including Chautauqua County. According to recent news reports, rainfall totals for many areas in the region are 8 to 9 inches below the average amount that has fallen by this time in any given year.
To respond to the drought, Senator Chuck Schumer called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to begin monitoring the situation so it can be prepared to offer drought relief funding for farmers who are affected by the weather.
On Monday, WRFA asked Congressman Tom Reed (R-Corning, NY 23) about the drought in the 23rd congressional district. He said it is something his office in is monitoring and he’s obviously concerned about.
“It’s definitely something we are involved with and are participating in. We just had a meeting with our New York Farm Bureau representative, which is a great voice for the agricultural community across Western New York,” Reed said. “The drought is real and it is significant, so we are asking [the Farm Bureau] to make sure that all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed in preparation for a potential declaration coming down the pipeline. But that all depends on the next few weeks and the weather and what the crop yields are going to be.”
Reed also noted that his congressional district has a significant amount of agriculture industries and nearly every single one is being impacted by the dry weather. They include corn, onions, potatoes, applies, and various other specialty crops.
“On top of that you’ve got feed supplies for our dairy farmers and the other supply chains. The vineyards seem to be a little bit heartier than some of our other specialty crops, but the grapes are something that could be impacted too,” Reed said.
This can yield more flavorful wines and potentially some new variations of flavors as well. There is one negative; however, of having a lower crop yeild.
In regard to the grapes in our area, some specialists say that while a drought my result in a lower grape yield, it may also lead to more flavorful wines and potentially some new variations of flavors.