Fallon Farms Get Water, Worry About Drought Conditions

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FALLON, NV - Wednesday, a sigh of relief for farmers in Fallon. Their drought-thirsty plants finally got water after a very dry winter. Irrigation in the area only began Wednesday, but farmers are already looking ahead to the end of the season where they are afraid they'll come up short.

The owner of one particular farm has about 800 acres of land; on a good year he would farm it all. But this year, he expects to only farm about 600 acres and even on that he won't get his full yield.

Still, water in these canals is a welcome sight for Fallon farmer Joe Frey.

"This is maybe a touch early i guess but not by much," said Frey.

Frey, Wednesday, was amongst the first farmers to be irrigated this year.

He was watering his fields as early as possible. This season, he'll only irrigate about 60 percent of his land and he'll do it for a shorter time period.

"We'll irrigate through the summer about every two weeks, 'til we are out of water, which they forecast to be around August 10th," said Frey.

Farmers in this area get all their water from the Lahontan Reservoir, but this year the lake is only about 50 percent full. Unfortunately, that is equal to the water allocation each farmer will get.

We'll do the very best job we can with what we have to work with," said Walter Winder with the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District.

The TCID board decided Monday on the 50% allocation. It basically translates to 50% income for these farmers. Sadly, there's no way to avoid it.

"There will be quite a bit less forage produced in the valley this year," said Winder.

Joe Frey has already decided how to cut back. He'll have one fewer cutting on his alfalfa and he's abandoned plans to grow corn late in the season.

"I think we'll be fine. You know if it continues for a long period of time, yeah we'll really start to suffer some hardships," said Frey.

While this is a tough situation, it's one they have come to expect here in Fallon. After all, it is the middle of a desert.

People here are just glad it's not as bad as a situation in the early 90's, when farmers got less than 30% of their water allocation.