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Excessive rain poses problems for some Central Texas vegetable farmers

While the constant rain the past month lifted Central Texas out of a drought, it came with another set of problems for farmers.

AUSTIN, Texas — One big dream for Central Texas farmers in the spring is rain, but some farmers say they were hit with a curveball this past month – too much rain. 

As the owner of VRDNT Farm in Bastrop County, Becky Hume is out every day managing her vegetable crops so she can give the best quality produce to the community. 

Since buying her farm two years ago, she has managed different obstacles, including COVID-19, a winter freeze and now an unusual amount of rain.

While some farms may operate fine with the constant rain these past few weeks, she said it makes it difficult particularly for vegetable farmers. 

"I can't say it's all bad. We are all grateful for the water, but it has definitely made some aspects a little bit more complicated," Hume said.

The muddy and wet conditions makes it a challenge for farmers to harvest their ripe vegetables.

Hume said she is lucky because her farm uses a lot of manual labor instead of tractors like other farms. This way, they can get into more places machinery cannot in these conditions.

However, she does need tractors for some tasks, like turning over fields to plant new crops. That is why for the past month, some of her fields have sat brown and untouched.

On top of that, not seeing the sun is a problem, too. Some plants require a significant amount of sunlight, so overcast and cloudy days have not helped the situation. 

"With the rain clouds, a lot of our summer crops like tomatoes have been severely delayed. Usually we have ripe tomatoes by this time of year, and right now they are sitting green. Again it's just a little bit strange," Hume said. 

Vegetable farmers also have to deal with pesky bugs that come with the moisture. 

Johnson's Backyard Garden in East Austin explained to its customers in a post that this weather impacted its latest shipment.

"In soppy conditions like this when we have trouble getting into the fields, some crops rot on the vine before we can pick them. We’re looking at you, zucchini. This is a breeding ground for pests, who are happy with the miserable conditions," the post said.

It went on to explain that even as the sun comes out and new fruit is ready, a new generation of pests will linger around.

Hume said these are just the things they have to deal with as farmers. All she needs is a week of no rain and sunshine to get back on track. After all, she said nothing fazes her after suffering through the Texas freeze.

"Please just not that again," Hume said.

Both VRDNT Farm and Johnson's Backyard Garden are a part of Community Supported Agricultures (CSA), which connects the community to local vegetable farmers. This way people can have freshly produced, high-quality vegetables, while keeping 100% of the profits in the pocket of local farmers.

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