HARRINGTON — The state of Maine has been in a drought for much of this summer and it is impacting farming.
“Agriculture depends on water to be able to grow anything, so when we have a shortage of water it really adds to the amount of work that’s required,” said Tom Gordon, policy and planning coordinator for the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.
Maine has seen a significant amount of sun and heat this summer and little rain.
“Farming is always hard work and when you have to spend extra hours irrigating, moving pipes, searching for new water supplies, it really adds to the time and the cost of doing your work,” Gordon said.
Courtney Hammond, farm manager at Lynch Hill Farms, said crops are suffering.
“The plants are stressed,” Hammond said. “The quality of the fruit, you know, will go down every day as we go without rain.”
Hammond said visible patches in the fields are evidence of just how bad the drought is hurting crops.
“The volume is starting to go down as those berries at the top of the plant, especially in some of the gravely, well drained soils,” Hammond said. “With lack of moisture, those top few berries are getting to the point where even rain won’t bring those back.”
He said they are currently harvesting some ripe blueberries but he doesn’t know how long that will last.
“Last year, we actually were able to continue to provide fresh blueberries through the 15th of September,” Hammond said. “I don’t expect to be able to go this long this year with the weather that we’ve had.”
According to Gordon, farmers should prepare for droughts in advance.
“You need to have a good irrigation system and then a reliable water supply, either a well that’s deep enough or a farm pond that has adequate water,” Gordon said.