While some pray to keep winter weather away, others depend on it for business

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Farmers rely on the cold weather to keep the insect population in check and to kill unwanted weeds

(WKBN) – Around a half-inch of rain fell on Friday. If it would have been snow, it would have been 5 inches. While some people were glad it was rain and not snow, there are others who could use the snow and the cold.

Mike Shaffer of Top Cut Lawn Care & Snow Removal keeps his snowplow wrapped at his house in Youngstown to keep it out of the weather. He also has a pile of bagged salt a few feet away, saying he’s been out about three times so far.

“It’s been pretty rough actually, very sporadic. It’s been more de-icing and preparation instead of actually getting out there and getting our blade down on the pavement,” he said.

“We’ve been out three or four but it’s mostly for salt,” said Dallas Bigley, Bigley Landscape Contractors.

In Struthers, Bigley had the same story. His blades are on the trucks but they’re not being used, which is why he now considers snow plowing as bonus money.

“We don’t rely on it very much at all. We take on as much as we can get, but at the end of the day it’s just a plus,” Bigley said.

“We’d love it to just get cold and stay there for a while,” said farmer Haley Shoemaker.

Shoemaker works for the Mahoning County Extension Service. She is hoping for some muddy cornfields in Canfield to freeze.

“Freezing also means that a lot of pests and insect populations are held at a controllable rate. It also means that a lot of the annual weeds that are now getting an extended warm period to mature, and become more of a problem in the spring, would be more controlled,” she said.

Shoemaker also said cold weather is good for livestock.

“How we kind of feel under the weather when we get this gloomy weather going on, the livestock feels much the same. So pneumonia and different disease pressures are also at the forefront of those priorities. Right now, especially making sure the herds are staying healthy and they are maintaining the nutrient levels that they need,” she said.

Fruit farmers also want it to stay cold because they don’t want the trees to start budding. If they do, a frost could kill them.

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