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Current cold, snowy weather actually benefitting farmers

Published: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 9:33 a.m. CDT

Come spring, the sun is supposed to start shining, the flowers are supposed to start blooming and Midwesterners are supposed to reacquaint themselves with the outside world they’ve spent long winter months avoiding.

Instead, this.

Concrete skies, howling winds, sub-40 temperatures and, of course, snow.

Snow!

In the final week of March.

Like we live in Minnesota or something.

But there’s a bright side here.

According to Tasha Bunting, manager of the Grundy County Farm Bureau, all the snow Mother Nature’s tried to cram into March could actually benefit farmers this growing season.

“The wet winter we’ve had lately will be helpful to put moisture back into the soil,” she said. “We had such a dry year last summer that it will take a while to get soil moisture back to normal levels.

“So, although we are all tired of the cold, the precipitation is beneficial.”

And even if the unseasonable weather has kept us in long pants and jackets, forced us to run on treadmills rather than sidewalks, and prevented us from rolling the windows down in our salt-stained cars, it’s still early enough in the season that the low temperatures won’t have much of an effect on growing.

“Generally, farmers use March to get machinery ready, pick up seed and plan,” Bunting says. “Planting does not generally occur until mid- to late April.”

If this chilly trend continues, Bunting says, the situation will be different. But for now, the cold hasn’t disrupted any planting.

“It is a waiting game now for conditions to be right to get started,” Bunting said.

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