Local farmers say winter the worst seen in decades




Posted on April 2, 2014 at 10:59 AM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 2 at 11:00 AM

REARDAN, Wash. -- Farmers in Eastern Washington said this winter was the worst they have seen in decades.

They say farmers from Ritzville down to Northern Oregon are finding hundreds of acres destroyed by cold snaps.

"I know further south there are some farmers down there that didn't have it as lucky as I did," said Kurt Carstens, owner of Coulee Creek Farms in Reardan.

Carstens told KREM 2 in December, he was not sure his crops would survive the cold.  Months later, he realized he was one of the lucky ones.  He lost less than one percent of his wheat crop.

WATCH: Reardan farmers hope for snow to help crops

"This looks fantastic,” Carstens said. “I thought for sure we were going to have some major damage."

His property near Stroup Rd has had some damage from the winter, but it wasn't because of the cold.  The freeze and sudden thaw afterward melted the snow and flooded part of the land.  Carstens lost three acres to soil erosion.

Meanwhile, however, Maier Farms in Ritzville suffered much more significant losses due to the harsh winter.

Manager Eric Maier said his wheat crops made it through the first cold snap, but were killed off the second time around.  Maier Farms lost more than 800 acres.

Workers at Maier Farms spent the past week reseeding on 6,000 acres of property.

"I know some growers in the Tri City area who are killed out and they can't even replant," said Maier.

Maier said insurance will pay for the reseeding, and that he is hoping to grow part of his loss back.

He added he has not lost this many crops in decades, but he's happy he didn’t lose it all.