OAKDALE (KDKA) — For third generation farmer Pete Beccari, the recent rainy weather has become problematic.
“We’re probably a good 15 to 18 days behind on everything,” he said.
No one knows better than farmers just how bad this spring has been.
Pete showed KDKA-TV’s Mary Robb Jackson seed corn in the single field he’s been able to plant so far. It should be 6-inches high by now.
“So, it’s coming up upon its life where it’s not going to germinate and that’s what scares me,” Beccari said.
Usually he has eight fields of corn in the ground by this time.
“We try to have corn ripe by the Fourth of July okay – that’s where the money and the people are interested in the first sweet corn,” he explained.
Pete’s tractor is still in the shed. Its weight would compact the wet soil preventing roots from growing.
Aside from incessant rain, Pete’s 100 acres in Oakdale were hit by a windstorm. “The wind came across the corner here through the field and it was about four o’clock in the morning.”
He woke up to find a greenhouse sheltering figs, young tomato and zucchini plants gone. “We were getting ready to plant them that day,” he recalled.
About the only bright spot – early strawberries may be a bumper crop – but not much else is promising. “I think most of my fellow farmers who I talk to are in – they’re in the same situation,” he said.
Also the rising cost of diesel fuel only adds to what farmers will have to charge consumers when the harvest arrives.
“I have to rely on the Lord,” Beccari said. “I have to have my faith.”
When the crops finally do come, this may be the season to buy local so that area farmers can survive.