Local farmers cope with late planting season

Eau Claire, WI (WEAU)-- A long cold winter and a rainy start to May has delayed the planting season for local farmers.

Jeff Peck, the Herd Manager at Pecks Farms, says famers need to utilize their time to make sure they get the best possible crop. Peck says, “With the planting season being later, every minute of every day that you can, you want to be productive and be working. With all the animals, and the people, and the machinery, there's always curveball thrown at you. When you can get something done you want to go ahead and do it.”

The planting season is two weeks later which means local farmers are putting in 14 to16 hour days but Peck says that doesn't mean area communities should expect anything less from farms like theirs.

Peck says, “The American farmer is always trying to be the safest, most reliable and the most affordable food there is in the world. So, the latest the planting season gets it does set us off a little bit on the wrong foot for getting maximum yield but we still have great technology, we want to do it right and as long a mother nature cooperates we can still pull off a good crop.”

Area businesses that thrive on produce from local farms, such as the Farmers Market, don’t believe the late planting season will increase the prices of food. Deidra Barrickman, the Farmers Market Manager says “It seems like the prices have been holding steady for the last few years so I'm going to expect about the same.”

In fact, Barrickman says the prices of the local produce could be better than what’s sold on grocery store shelves. Barrickman says, “I would say it's very similar to grocery stores, a lot of times even cheaper. The best thing is you know you're buying very fresh product that was picked the night before and you're not going to get that at the grocery store and you know you're helping your local farmer too which is really important.

Peck also says that despite the late start, this year could actually be better than the past two years in terms of crop yield. That’s because the previous years have seen droughts that haven’t been a problem yet this year. Peck does say that it’s always hard to tell given the fickleness of Mother Nature.

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