Intense times for regional vegetable farmers

Falling temperatures & hard freezes in Texas and Mexico

As far south as Mexico, cold temperatures, freezes and even rare snow events have farmers on edge, trying to find ways to keep their fields warm and their winter vegetable plants alive.

In the usually warm Rio Grande Valley of Texas, at the very southern tip of the state, produce farmers are scratching their heads after cold, wet weather hampered early January harvest operations. Growers in the Valley are assessing how much damage their winter crops may have suffered.

"It's not a question of if we have damaged crops," said Bret Erickson, director of business development for J&D Produce. "It's a matter of how severe the damage is."

Along with the winter chill, caused by a plunging arctic front that barrelled down from Canada bringing freezing rain, sleet, snow and sub-freezing temps to much of the middle part of the nation, frost was a problem for many southern growers as the cold air was over-ridden by warm moist air streaming in from the Pacific and Gulf coasts. was told that vegetable growers across much of Texas and farther south into Mexico had been hard at work attempting to prepare crops and fields for the coming blast of winter weather.

"We have been working fast to water the ground to help keep soil temperatures up. We also have covered as many plants as possible to avoid direct contact with the chill, especially on our more valuable and at-risk crops."

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