One of the things folks in agriculture can’t spend enough time talking about is the weather. Good or bad, there is always something to say about it. And with all the technology there is today — 24 hour weather channels, mobile weather updates, etc. its easy to stay up to date. So you may think folks know what’s happening.
I think it may be a case of information overload. With so much accessibility of pinpointed information, I think people may be missing the big picture at times. I’m guilty myself of focusing in on where I am or where I am going and occasionally a nice farmer will remind me a sunny day in Memphis doesn’t mean an unexpected snowstorm couldn’t be hitting Nebraska. Awareness of weather on a general basis may improve when a really wide scale event like flooding or drought is reported on the national morning shows and nightly news but I wouldn’t be too sure. And since only two percent of people in the US are engaged in farming, the consequences of weather isn’t always understood or considered.
But recently I found a very clear way to get some uptake on the impacts of bad weather — signs at the drive through menu board. Tell Americans that there is a shortage of something they expect to be there even if they don’t think about it. That’s the case with tomatoes right now — check out the sign I saw recently. If you happen to be in a restaurant, grocery store or just having dinner with friends and you happen to hear some comments or questions, maybe you can also take a few minutes to explain the real impact of an untimely frost can really have on family farms.
Oh, and maybe we should go buy some tomatoes… I know prices are going up, but they are tasty!
If you’d like to keep up with what’s happening on the weather in agriculture, check out weather.com’s farming page. For news and information on the vegetable industry follow Tom Karst of The Packer by blog or twitter. For those on twitter you can also use the FollowFarmer database to find a farmer in a region & check in to see what’s up. I get some of my best info straight from the farm!