CENTRAL POINT, Ore. – Local farmers say the recent rain in the Rogue Valley helps a little, but it was not nearly enough to make up for the dry year. Now, those farmers said they want to see a change in the forecast to make sure there’s enough water this summer.
“A little bit of rain is better than nothing,” said Jerry May, a farmer in Central Point.
An irrigation creek on May’s farm has been lower than it’s ever been, he says. And May is worried a lack of snowpack in the mountains will limit irrigation water heading into the summer. He said the rain this past weekend only helps in the short-term.
“I call it a sugar high,” he said. “The rain that we get is a quick fix, it’s that sugar high you get but you don’t get anything out of it, just some quick energy. And that’s what we’ve got, I look at it is, we got a quick shot right now, let’s see how long it lasts.”
The lack of water could also impact what crops farmers choose to plant. May was considering growing alfalfa this season, but said he may reconsider, because the plant would require too much water.
The Medford Irrigation District has said that farmers should prepare for some difficult growing conditions this season. If more snow does not accumulate in the mountains, they will have to tap into reservoirs to meet the demand. In a worst-case scenario that could lead to water rationing in the summer.