Valley farmers keeping an eye on dropping temperatures


Like a game of Blackjack, valley farmers have their money on the table in rows and rows, but winter, is about to play its cards.

“I love almond blooms, it’s gorgeous, for two weeks we live in a fairyland,” almond farmer Paul Betancourt said. “But when the weather goes sideways on us, it’s nerve-wracking, because the crop’s at stake.”

Kerman’s Betancourt has done what he can. 

“We’ve mowed the centers, and we’ve watered the fields,” Betancourt said. 

Hoping to raise temperatures as much as possible.

“When it starts dropping to 29, 28 for 2, 3 or 4 hours, then it becomes a big deal,” Betancourt said.

He shows us, some blooms already out, early this season, others, not yet.

“One bad night is only going to toast these that are open now.”

And farmers can’t forget last year’s extreme weather, and losses.

Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Jacobsen says, this winter’s been warmer, overall, but.

“We’ve had these incredible storms that have come through, dumped a lot of water, but they’ve been some very cold storms,” Jacobsen said.

Jacobsen says, farmers will be watching 2 to 3 hours early Tuesday morning, the closest, for near-freezing temps.

“So the weather event tonight, is as favorable as it comes, when it comes to freeze warnings,” Jacobsen said.

Farmers will be hoping.

“We’re going to be praying a lot, and we’ll see how it rides out,” Betancourt said. 

It’s not just almonds; peaches, plums, nectarines, Jacobsen says anything with blossoms or anything that has just been pollinated, can be affected.

Reporting in Fresno, Megan Rupe.

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