Farmers react to early shut off of irrigation water

MERIDIAN Idaho (KBOI) - The Boise Project Board of Control announced they will shutdown five irrigation districts a month and half earlier than normal.

Many farmers knew this was coming and some, like Meridian farmer Lee Rice, had time to prepare.

"A lot of farmers had to sort of 11th hour adjust their field and crop plans, and cut back on acreages," said Rice.

Rice had to plant more short seasoned crops like potatoes and carrots. While skipping on things like melons. He also cut back the amount of hay crops. They normally take longer to grow using more water, but bring in more money.

Even though he may see a loss in revenue of 20% or more over last year. He does consider himself lucky.

"We are really fortunate and a lot of farmers I think are pretty happy that we were able to make it to the first of September."

The earliest the irrigation has been cut off was August 5th back in 1992. Lee gives credit to the irrigation district planning, and farmers using different water techniques for it lasting as long as it has.

Rice said this is the toughest season he's seen in 25 years, but with the water shutting off in a few weeks he can't help but think of next year.

"Now next year this winter is going to be scary because if we don't get a good winter it's really going to be rough next year."