Small Farmers Turn to Irrigation to Keep Crops Afloat
By Jill Kasparie, Reporter
LINN COUNTY, Iowa – Many producers are hoping Friday’s rain helps their crops. Recently, the dry weather has pushed more and more small farmers to search for ways to keep their crops alive.
Iowa State University Extension Agriculture experts said the dry weather is putting stress on high value crops like fruits and vegetables. Now, agronomists are seeing a new trend pop up. People are putting in irrigation systems to water crops that don’t typically need it, like sweet corn and pumpkins.
“We’re up about five and we go to bed at about ten,” said Mary Goodlove.
From sun up to sun down, Mary and Gary Goodlove work on their 55 acre farm.
“There’re the carrots, they are doing pretty good,” Gary Goodlove said while taking a tour of the farm.
Together they’ve watched everything from pumpkins to green beans grow on the land since 1972. This year, however, the two have a lot of extra work to do.
They’re in the middle of installing a large drip irrigation system. The couple hauls a 550 gallon tank of water back and forth throughout the day. That’s used to pump water into the field.
“You hook that onto your line and it drips about every 12 inches,” Gary Goodlove said.
It’s the first time in forty years they’ve ever had to put in a system like this to keep the crops alive.
“We ran this irrigation a little bit last night and you can see there’s not a whole lot of moisture there, it is damp, it’s dark, otherwise if I did it over here, it’s dry. It just gives them a little life,” Mary Goodlove said.
“Like my dad used to say, in Iowa we get rain ten minutes before it’s too late and some people say no, it’s 30 minutes before it’s too late. But we didn’t get it and we haven’t got it,” Gary Goodlove said.
Still, they know it’s not the answer to Mother Nature’s lack of rain. They just hope it’s enough to keep the farm afloat through the dry spell.
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