In the Northeast, according to the USDA, about 175,000 farms produce more than $21-billion a year in food, hay and flowers. But not this year. Many fields are bone dry, with extreme droughtconditions in parts of Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire and severe conditions across much of the region. The climate — and how it’s changing — has many farmers thinking about how to manage their land, their animals and available water.
Having an irrigation system on your farm doesn’t mean you escaped this summer’s drought. Mike Wissemann at Warner Farm in Sunderland, Massachusetts, knows from experience. On a hot mid-August day, Wissemann stood in the shade of barn, pointing to a a dry, unplanted field a few hundred feet away.
“Irrigation is irritation,” Wissemann said.