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Farmers dealing with dry soil welcome snow

Published On: Dec 10 2012 06:02:18 PM CST   Updated On: Dec 10 2012 09:16:17 PM CST

Sunday's snowfall in southern Wisconsin not only put people in the holiday spirit but also gave area farmers much-needed hope for healthy soil.

As the Vermont Valley Community Farm prepares the final CSA shares of the season, the community-supported farm in Blue Mounds said the recent blanket of snow is welcome moisture after enduring a very dry summer.

Farmers say they'll need a robust winter season to help battle potential drought and prepare for a promising spring.

"In the snow, particularly given the drought, winter is an opportunity to regenerate your water supply. Groundwater levels are quite low. There are ponds out there that are lower than normal," said David Perkins, of Vermont Valley Community Farm.

Mike Noltnerwyss, from nearby Crossroads Community Farm, said he plans to invest tens of thousands of dollars into new irrigation systems.

"The yield in vegetable farming is entirely tied to water. When you look at what vegetables are made up of, it's water, and if you have enough, you can pay back your investment very quickly," Noltnerwyss said.

The farmers said they hope to reap more rewards after the snow melts.

"So over the winter, whether it's a combination of snow or rain, you're hoping for moisture through the winter that will actually make a difference coming into the spring," Perkins said.

On top of the winter moisture, farmers are hoping all that water won't have to battle too much frost come spring.

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