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Lack Of Rain Is Growing Concern For Local Farmers

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(Credit: KDKA)

(Credit: KDKA)

Mary Robb Jackson Mary Robb Jackson
Mary Robb Jackson joined KDKA-TV as a general assignment reporter in...
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OAKDALE (KDKA) — A rainy spring led to a late planting season for most Pennsylvania farmers.

Back in May, you could squeeze water out of the soil at Pete Beccari’s farm in Oakdale. Now though, it’s been too dry.

“So, it’s coming up on its life where it’s not going to germinate, and that’s what scares me,” Beccari said.

The third-generation farmer had only planted one corn field. He usually had eight fields of corn in the ground by May.

“New fields of corn – fields of corn that haven’t germinated yet,” he said.

Now, it’s a lack of rain Beccari has to contend with this growing season.

Even some of the old timers have never experienced a year such as this.

With only scattered showers and a dry forecast ahead, Beccari is pumping water from three shallow ponds.

“As you can see the pond’s going down,” he said.

In other fields, drip tubes are irrigating crops under plastic.

“It emits water, very low amounts of water underneath the plastic so we can conserve what water we have,” Beccari said.

The tomatoes, which were a worry for a while, are doing well.

“They like a warmer, drier temperature,” added Beccari. “Actually, we’re going to start picking in less than a week.”

Beccari and two field workers will pick every tomato and tomatillo on his 4,000 to 5,000 plants by hand. Even with the wet and the dry and the high cost of diesel fuel, the price of produce should still be right.

“Prices will be up a little bit, but everybody still has to eat,” said Beccari.

Farmer’s Markets can make the difference on whether the farmer makes it to the next season. So, what we all can do to help is buy local and buy fresh.

Beccari’s Farm Market is located at 5095 Thoms Run Road in Oakdale.

They are open weekdays from noon until 5 p.m. and on weekends from 11 a.m.to 5 p.m.

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