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Rain and fog means a farmer's day off

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Posted at 9:04 AM, Jan 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-08 12:04:55-05

As the fog rolled in Friday, it's another damp day off for farmers across Kern County.

The recent rain and snow, that now beautifully caps the mountains surrounding the valley, are a welcome sign of what's to come.

"Rain here, means snow in the mountains, which is really what we're shooting for. Any type of snow on the mountains is going to guarantee that maybe within the next year, maybe two years, it will start to flow back into the canals and we can get some water from there again," Local Almond Farmer Derek Fugitt said.

Fugitt said this weather came at the perfect time, when there's not much for nut farmers to do. 

"In the winter time there's not a lot of crops growing, so it's a lot of dirt prep work," Fugitt said. That means fixing irrigation leaks and issues, tying trees to stakes to keep them upright, et cetera.

Executive Director of the Kern County Farm Bureau, Beatris Sanders, says most farmers across the county are also in good spirits. "Growers are pretty excited about the rain so far and they hope it comes at certain times and that it can end at a perfect time," Sanders said the nut farmers rely heavily on bees to pollinate the trees during Spring.

The El Niño season will last until September, which could bring precipitation throughout the Spring. Sanders said farmers are at the mercy of Mother Nature, but for now everyone is happy, even growers who are harvesting.

Oranges and clementines are coming down, "you know it affects the harvest a little bit because you know you have actual people out in the mud, but overall it's been a light enough rain where they've been able to still be productive," Sanders said.

Sanders said the light rain has kept farmland from flooding, and they're all crossing their fingers as we trudge on through the El Niño season.