Drought Causing Smaller Crops At State Fair

By: Lily Wu - Email
By: Lily Wu - Email

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Monday, September 12, 2011

"I was floored when I walked in and saw itty bitty vegetables," said Oneita Bradley, who visits the fair every year.

The size and quantity of many of this year's entries have been reduced to their minimum at the Kansas State Fair. Those with gardens know that the fruit of their labor just didn't produce this year.

"I watered it but I still didn't get tomatoes," said Bradley. "A lot of people I've talked to this year have nothing in their gardens and it's sad 'cause you come up here and you can see proof."

The lack of rain and triple digit heat caused many of the crops to be smaller than usual.

"It's disappointing but you came in, you knew it was hot and dry, so you knew that the possibility of things being here, were not the best, so it doesn't surprise me," said Gene Alrgrim, superintendent of agriculture for the Kansas State Fair.

Although agriculture officials were not surprised, the crops served as a learning opportunity for students who were learning about the effects of Mother Nature.

"Last year they were just really really big. Then this one is not as huge as the other one. It's just kind of awkward," said Kelsi Rowe, 5th grade student visiting the fair.

It was awkward for visitors to see a pumpkin half the size it was last year. This year's winning entry was 366 pounds and last year's was 771 pounds.

"The ones in the past, kids could crawl on them basically. These are a lot smaller. It's a shame that's been the case. Hopefully, this is the last dry, hot weather," said Sheri Payne, visitor from Andover.

The vegetables will be on display at the Pride of Kansas building at the Kansas State Fair until Sept. 18.

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