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Water fears prompt farmer to move crop out of state

6:56 PM, Mar 26, 2013   |    comments
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KUSA - Farmers still reeling from last year's drought have to make tough decisions. For LaSalle farmer Harry Strohauer, concerns over water caused him to move 500 acres of potato crops out of state.

"We had to move 500 acres of our potato production down into New Mexico where we knew we could count on water," Strohauer said.

He has roughly 3,200 acres of other crops in LaSalle.

"You can't invest thousands of dollars an acre into crops, and not know you've got some security," he added.

Like many farmers in Colorado, Strohauer is struggling with decisions of what to plant, how much of it to plant and whether not planting might be the best decision of all.

"We're just in a mode of trying to survive," he said.

Strohauer welcomes the recent snow, but knows it hasn't been nearly enough to offer salvation after last year's drought.

"In some instances 10 or 20 percent less water than we were used to. We were very short on water," Strohauer said.

So he needed to make a decision about this year's planting and didn't want to take unnecessary chances.

Still, he must plan on when to plant his other crops as he hopes for more moisture in the mountains to help snowpack.

"I consider everything we do this year a leap of faith," Strohauer said.

Neil Hansen, professor of agricultural production systems at CSU, says what farmers are doing as a result of drought will be felt by consumers, but not for some time.

"I feel that the scale of this drought is large enough that there certainly will be a modest increase in agriculture product," Hansen explained.

He says farmers are bearing the immediate economic impact, but that in the next year or two consumers could see a modest increase in prices.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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