Extreme Heat Means Potential Loss For Local Farmers

Extreme Heat Means Potential Loss For Local Farmers

KMIR

It’s not breaking news. We’ve known for some time. Today was set to be hot – and it delivered. For the second straight day, the Coachella Valley saw record heat.
We know these kinds of extreme temperatures can be dangerous but they can also be expensive. 
And while it will likely cost you extra money on your air conditioning bill, local farmers might lose hundreds of thousands of dollars as these heat waves act as a kind of microwave to their crops. 
But one farm saw the heat wave coming and brought the harvest in doors. 
The temperatures around the Coachella Valley ranged from record to ridiculous. All depending on how smart your phone is or how dark your car is.

Valley residents sent us pictures with temperatures ranging from 122 degrees to a whopping 140 degrees from the dashboard of a black car.  

And while heat in the desert is common in the summer, having this much intense heat this early means crops have suffered and wilted as much as you and I.

"Just like it does to people," says Ted Johnson, the COO of Woodspur Farms. "You don’t go hiking in 125 and grapes, they don’t like it either." 

With the heat wave that struck in early in June, as you might remember, the one that saw people collapse at local graduation ceremonies, local growers saw a collapse in their produce. 

"It’s devastating," says Johnson. "The vine just can’t keep up and you have berries that turn soft. I’m sure there will be losses." 

But in anticipation of this heat wave, the growers altered their plans, harvesting the grapes last week, storing them and processing them from there, in doors. 

"It’s much cooler," says Victor Torres, a worker from Coachella. "It’s better and I’m getting my job way faster done." 

"So with the heat wave we brought everyone in," says Johnson, "And we’re working in anywhere from 70 to 40 degrees and the people absolutely love it." 

The workers enjoy being inside and we’re told this time, the grapes were saved from the oppressive heat. 

Earlier this year, agricultural industry insiders predicted a prosperous growing season for the Coachella Valley but that’s still in debate as these heat waves has cost many growers at various levels. 

They tell us they won’t know the total amount until the harvest is over, in a week or so.