Devastation of 2016 drought looms in farmers’ minds, plans, wallets

By mid-July, the Rices were hauling water from a farm two miles away, 275 gallons at a time.
"It made us understand how vulnerable we are to the weather," she said.
"All of those things combined mean farmers are probably going to face more short-term summer droughts in the future," said Shannan Sweet, who studies climate and horticulture at Cornell University’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future.
"Just about every single farmer across the state will talk about weather, or weather uncertainty and unpredictability and say something is different," she said.
New York’s apple season used to start in mid-May.
"Farmers want to farm," Rice said.
"It’s one of those things I can get up on my apple box about."
It’ll take a decade for him to get back to where he was last year, and yet he’s optimistic.
Farmers, she found, increasingly want to invest in the long-term technologies that’ll prevent the worst effects of unpredictable weather and produce energy at a more sustainable rate.
Those who do invest are "hedging a bet" that can take decades to pay off, said David Wolfe, chair of Cornell’s sustainable climate change center.

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