SWLA farmers not expecting drastic El Nino impact to their crops

(Source: Erica Bivens/KPLC)
(Source: Erica Bivens/KPLC)
(Source: Erica Bivens/KPLC)
(Source: Erica Bivens/KPLC)

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Forecasters have predicted an El Nino year, which means the deep south, especially Southwest Louisiana, can expect wet weather.

But the forecast also means farmers are paying attention to how their crops may be impacted.

Gerald Darbonne has been farming off and on since 1974.

He knows his crops well - from when they should be planted to how much they'll yield.

Francia Chaisson, another area farmer says weather, "definitely affects your crops."

And because many farmers rely on selling their crops for a living, they pay attention to the weather.

But with forecasters calling for an El Nino year, which tends to bring wet weather here in the south, do they have any concerns?

"Not so much, I mean you can't change it or make it stop or make it go away, it's just it is what it is and you learn to deal with it, especially in the farm life," said Darbonne.

While farmers say they're not expecting a drastic impact to their crops, they are concerned about food prices on a larger scale.

"With the fuel prices going higher and California being in the drought, I see the supermarkets going up, yes I do," said Chaisson.

"I mean there's always concern because whenever that happens it's going to cause major droughts or major floods. It affects the crop especially that year but really the next year and also it affects the cattle prices, because of the feed. Feed prices go up so it affects everything sure," added Darbonne.

While they're bracing for nationwide price increases in produce, Chaisson says because they're small-scale, selling directly to customers, "We can monitor the water situation pretty well, if it gets hot a lot of people cover their vegetables with shade cloth."

For them, it means they don't feel that much of an impact – El Nino or La Nina. In fact, Darbonne says business is good.

"Today has been good, it really has. It's picked up as the year goes, as the summer warms up it picks up quite a bit," smiled Darbonne.

Considering the drought we've experienced in Southwest Louisiana thus far, forecasters here say the El Nino prediction is good news for us as we move into summer and eventually fall and winter.

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