Central Texas farmers drowning in excess rain

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Heavy rains and flooding is taking a toll on farms. Some Austin farm owners are reporting losses of tens of thousands of dollars.

Over at Boggy Creek Farm, running the operation during flood conditions is just as difficult as drought, but in different ways. If it doesn’t dry up soon, workers said this will likely be classified as a “bad year.”

“These beds right here have been prepared by hand because we can’t get a tractor in, it’s too wet,” said Carol Ann Sayle. “You don’t want extremes. Don’t want too much water, don’t want none. And each is devastating.”

Sayle says the hardest hit on her farm was potatoes.

“About five weeks ago a big gully-washer washed out about half the potatoes when they were small plants, and you can’t just replant things like that.”

She has plenty of green tomatoes that she hopes will turn red soon, but conditions have been too wet.

“If heirlooms do well we may make $9,000 this year,” said Sayle. “If something happens to them, we don’t.”

Not being able to put a tractor on the ground makes the hours longer, and work more costly. Sayle said it takes about 10 times longer to do work by hand tools. Workers also cannot be out in the field during dangerous conditions.

“Somebody’s got to be the mamma hen and get the chicks in when it’s lightning.”

But Sayle said she is used to difficult conditions.

“You want to do this so badly, you’re going to do whatever it takes to feed people,” said Sayle. “That’s nature, she taketh and she giveth.”

Sayle said another serious problem during bad weather is no one showing up to the farmer’s market. The best way to help, she said, is to go and buy local produce. She also said she will not be raising prices.

The Boggy Creek farmer’s market is open Wednesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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