Summer drought taking toll on Long Island farmers with crop quality, extra work hours

Long Island farmers are hoping for rain clouds as this summer's drought took a toll on their crops.

News 12 Staff

Sep 22, 2022, 2:26 AM

Updated 578 days ago

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Long Island farmers are hoping for rain clouds as this summer's drought took a toll on their crops.
They say they are concerned about their vegetables and pumpkins.
The drought doesn't only mean smaller pumpkins but smaller profits for a farm in Wading River.
"It's been dry. Just makes hard work harder," says farm owner David Fink. He says life on the farm this year has been more difficult than ever before.
To stay ahead of the drought, they've irrigated their crops more than ever. But more water out of hoses means more money out of their pockets.
"You're burning more fuel, it's more labor just moving water and work on top of work," Fink explains. "Cost of fuel is through the roof, so you had fuel on top of fertilizer and everything else it's, the cost is up."
Fink says they can't pass all of those costs onto their customers, so that means less profit for them.
The family farm that relies on fall visitors will be showcasing a shorter corn maze and a decent crop of pumpkins, but many not as big as in years past.
Fink says a lot of the vegetables got stressed because of the hot and dry weather, conditions he says they had no choice but to work through.
"It was rough you're up at two, three in the morning, sometimes at four in the morning, moving lines of pipe, switching pipe, so it's tough, but there's no other option. You just have got to keep on going," he says.
Farm staff has been working hours most of are not familiar with, and average conditions, it's about an 80- to 90-hour work week that make it exhausting.
"Then put overtime on top of it -- that's what makes it tough and you can deal with that for a short period of time, but when you get over two, three, four weeks of that, it wears on you," Fink says.
Fink says because of all their hard work this summer, "pumpkin time," as he calls it, should be healthy this year at the farm. And at this point, even with the rain on Thursday, he says it's too little, too late.


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