Mesa County Declared "Agricultural Disaster Area"
KREX News Room
PALISADE, Colo. - With recent high ninety degree temperatures, it's almost hard to remember just how cold it got early this spring.
"I estimate that we've had at least 50 percent damage because of those late frosts," said John "Rusty" Price of Valley Vista Vineyards.
Farmers are still trying to recover after that late frost took a toll on their crops, but now that it's warming up they face a new challenge.
The United States Small Business Administration has designated Mesa County as an agricultural disaster area because of the drought.
"It's been really really dry," Price said.
At Valley Vista Vineyards, they've only seen 1/4 inch of rain all year.
Price has constructed a special irrigation system to mimic rainfall, but in high temperatures nothing helps the grapes like the real thing.
"Even with transpiration from irrigation, it is not as effective in cooling the plant as with rain," said Price.
Currently, Price is rebuilding his damaged vines from the ground up to prepare for next year, but said he's still concerned for those across the valley.
"Those that do not have those good irrigation rights, such as those in Orchard Mesa to the west, may have interrupted water," said Price.
The Small Business Administration is accepting applications for disaster loans for those farmers who have suffered through the drought.
To fill out an application, visit: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/