Farmers prep for cold, wet week across southern AZ

Farmers prep for cold, wet week across southern AZ

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - Farming isn’t for everyone and this week’s forecast for southern Arizona isn’t making the work any easier for the men and women dedicated to putting food on our tables.

Colder temperatures make for a slow start to the day if harvesting is on the schedule.

Paul Buseck at Rattlebox Farm said the notion of starting work as soon as the sun’s up isn’t so simple when the produce hasn’t thawed from the night before.

"Even under the second row of covers, they can freeze," he said. "If you harvest them while the leaves are frozen, well, they just wilt."

Buseck estimates they'll lose more harvest time this week because of the colder temperatures, but his attention is on more than the crops. He has to make sure there isn't an inch of exposed pipe in order to avoid a bigger setback.

"You miss a little section and that part freezes, and then that's a lot of extra work to fix it," said Buseck.

That's not how he'd like to spend any extra time on his hands while frozen crops thaw in the morning.

A positive aspect of the recent winter weather is all the rain, according to Buseck. He said they've been able hold off on irrigation for a week at a time, several times this winter.

It’s a benefit to the farm’s budget and it’s produce. Buseck said rainwater is better for crops that run through the irrigation system.

While his team prepares for the hard freeze and widespread rain, Buseck said he’ll be thinking about his fellow farmers in higher elevations like Benson and Arivaca where the conditions are expected to be even harsher.

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