COLUMBIANA, Ohio (WKBN) – The Valley is experiencing an abnormally dry spring and for farmers, this can cause quite the headache. Today, we caught up with Craig Mercer, the owner of Catalpa Grove Farm in Columbiana. He said this is the driest spring he has dealt with in about 10 years.

“It’s abnormally dry. It’s been a while since it’s been this dry this early,” Mercer said.

Mercer says he is already having to irrigate crops.

“Ones that are growing, plus it’s dry enough, some of the stuff we’re planting. The ground is so dry, we have to irrigate it right after we plant it to get them to germinate and come out of the ground,” he said.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, as of May 25, about 27% of the midwest region including Ohio is currently considered abnormally dry. In the Valley, we’re behind 2.18 inches of rainfall for the month. Plus, hotter temperatures will likely worsen already dry conditions, extracting more moisture from the surface. Without rainfall, conditions can dry out very quickly, impacting several crops.

“Tomatoes take a lot of water, sweet corn takes a lot of water. The strawberries, they’re a shallow-rooted crop so the top layer of soil dries out fairly quickly — you gotta keep water there,” Mercer said.

As for the economic impact this will have on farmers, Haley Shoemaker with the Ohio State University Extension says we could still see a turnaround as far as getting back to normal precipitation levels.

“There’s still a lot of days left in the growing season and a lot of things that could come our way, whether it be weather or market-related. So, economic impact is a little hard to determine just quite yet,” Shoemaker said.

Shoemaker says the OSU Extension will be keeping a close eye on what the dry conditions turn into and whether we see any significant rainfall, because that’ll start impacting some of the crop health, especially some of those crops that were just planted over the last couple of weeks.