Local farmer shares struggles as too much rain washes over Capital Region


ALTAMONT, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Farming is often a gamble betting against bad weather. Farmers are tough, but Indian Ladder Farms co-owner Dietrich Gehring says in his lifetime, he believes he’s seen first hand the effects of global warming.

“We didn’t used to get these heavy, heavy downpours, you know, so many of them. I mean, we always got them, but so regularly,” says Gehring.

“The last thing a farmer needs in weather is more uncertainty,” he adds.

Gehring says delicate crops don’t benefit at all from the recent washouts. He says blueberries in particular are going to waste.

“With all the rain, they just drop off and then we also had a wind event the other night so that doesn’t help, it knocks them off. There’s the waste, there’s the financial damage, you’re not bringing in an income,” he explains to NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton.

Meanwhile, raspberries grow lower to the ground and are prone to mold, so are vine plants like squash. Pick-your-own customers also slow to a trickle on rainy days, leaving the crops to waste.

Perhaps the most devastating effect for local beer and cider lovers, the potential mold damage to hops.

“Hops like a lot of water, they don’t like to be wet though. If we don’t have hops, we don’t really have beer that people want to drink. The trend now is all IPAs and hoppy lagers,” Gehrig says.

Still, Gehring says his farm fares better than some others that have been devastated by the recent rains, and farmers help each other.

“Whether it’s borrowing equipment or, oh you don’t have any fruit, you know, we’ll sell you some because we have a surplus, so the farming community is very resilient,” he says.

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