Flood damage in Monterey County is going to set back production timelines for many growers. Multiple storms brought a tremendous amount of rainfall to the area, flooding a significant amount of acreage. Monterey County Farm Bureau Executive Director Norm Groot told AgNet West last week that an estimated 20,000 acres have been impacted. As growers continue to assess the overall amount of damage, many plantings will be delayed.
“What I’m hearing at this point is everyone’s expecting 45 to 60 days probably as the minimum timeframe at this point for all the testing that they’re going to have to do for food safety compliance,” said Groot. “It’s hard to say what that’s going to mean to the marketplace but obviously with 20,000 acres impacted now it probably is a little bit of a delay that we’re going to see in those first plantings here in February and probably early March.”
Groot also noted that many fields were able to withstand the storms without negative impacts on their overall production timetables. However, growers dealing with flood damage will have to wait until the testing protocols are completed before plantings can go into the ground. Groot said that flood concerns have been an ongoing issue on the Salinas River. The permitting process to make improvements along the river has become increasingly complex. That has limited the amount of preventative work that has been able to take place along the river channel.
“We’ve had all these new permitting restrictions and very little work done in the river channel itself,” Groot explained. “When we get some of these flows, particularly like what we just saw in the last few weeks, it causes much more of a concern and much more of a problem simply because the river channel itself cannot control or handle the amount of water.”