YUMA, Ariz. – Parts of the Yuma Valley saw four to six inches of rain in just a few hours Tuesday night. “You probably won’t see something like this again in your lifetime. They’re calling this a one in 200 year event,” said owner of L&R Corporation Ted Johnson.
The unexpected flooding will cost the agriculture industry millions, as current and future crops are compromised. Cotton and dates are some of those that will lose quality and value after the down pour. Field workers now scramble to harvest the dates before damage worsens. Newly planted seeds are a total loss, drowned in the excessive water, forcing growers to start all over, and harvest later in the season.
“Typically this time of year growers are planting, seeds and transplants so a field like the one we have behind us, it may take weeks before that field is dry enough to prepare it or plant it,” said Kurt Nolte, Director of the University of Arizona’s Yuma Agricultural Center.
Fifty-five years in the industry, Johnson says he has never seen rainfall like this before. “We lost a field of romaine we just planted and wind an drain wiped that all out. In farming somebody’s loss is somebody else’s gain,” said Johnson. Growers say insurance will not cover an event like this. They’ll just have to take the loss brought on by mother nature.