USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, UVM Extension Center for Sustainable Agriculture, and the Intervale Community Farm (ICF) in Burlington, Vermont, joined forces to explore whether field-crop irrigation makes sense as a farm strategy for the Northeast. Although Northeast summers are typically wet with a trend toward more rainfall, this rainfall is increasingly arriving in extreme rainfall events with hot and dry periods between. Analyzing data from 2006 to 2016 showed that in all but one year at ICF, the benefits of avoided crop loss were greater than the costs of irrigation. For other farms within the Northeast, the net benefits of irrigation will depend upon their particular cost inputs and other local conditions. The full case study and a two-page summary are available online.
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