Wednesday , June 12 2024

Citrus Farmers Battle Freezing NYE

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Valley citrus growers are spending New Years Eve working overnight to protect their crops from freezing temperatures. <br /><br />This is the second night in a row a freeze warning has been in effect. Keith Nilmeier says Tuesday night was an unpredictable battle unlike anything he has experienced in 42 years of citrus growing. <br /><br />&quot;The temperature went down, the temperature went up,&quot; Nilmeier said. &quot;The fog came in and out probably about three or four times last night and you just didn’t know if you wanted to turn the wind machines off or turn them on.&quot;<br /><br />Citrus is a $2 billion a year industry in California. Much of it grown in the San Joaquin Valley. Prolonged temperatures under 28 degrees would have a major economic impact. <br /><br />&quot;When you talk this time of year, December, January, February it’s citrus for so many folks that pays the bills. Critical jobs to so many people up and down the valley there,&quot; Ryan Jacobsen with the Fresno County Farm Bureau said. <br /><br />Many farmers use water and wind machines to keep the temperatures just right. Nilmeier burns peach pits. A trick that costs thousands of dollars a night. He has 75 acres of citrus and says he has already invested up to $3,500 an acre.<br /><br />Keeping the crop safe from the freeze is hard work that requires monitoring every hour. <br /><br />&quot;You go out and you keep checking your temperatures, checking your thermometers seeing what time it is. Estimating duration, estimating lower temperatures,&quot; Nilmeier. <br /><br />A tug of war with mother nature he hopes to win.<br /></div>

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