Rough Spring Creating Hardship For Kansas Fruit Farmers

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

This spring has been tough on Kansans whose livelihoods depend on the weather and especially difficult for local fruit farmers.

One local farm has been dealt setbacks due to the weather twice in the past three years.

Gaylord and Patricia Sargeant have operated Sargeant’s Berry Farm south of Wichita since 1991. In recent years, the weather has taken the fun out of being an orchard farmer.

Most of the blossoms on their several-hundred peach trees are brown or black, indicating freeze damage. Last year, hail damage was to blame.

“We’ve had 17 degrees out here for seven or eight hours one night. They just can’t handle that kind of weather,” Gaylord Sargeant said.

Sergeant’s Berry Farm also grows blackberries and strawberries. The blackberries aren’t damaged but an estimated two-thirds of the strawberries were lost.

The Sergeants will fall back on their blackberries, cherries and apples this year.

There has been no final estimate on how much damage has been done to the Kansas wheat crop.

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