Doing our best with what we have

By Tom Butler

When spring came around this year I can honestly say that I was a small bit disappointed this time around. It wasn’t for the upcoming work, or how hectic it could be, it was the feeling that the rainy season had passed, and what we got from Mother Nature, while better than last year, wasn’t going to be enough.

While it was encouraging, nice even, to have some decent rainstorms last winter, when January turned dry, all of our worst fears were slowly becoming reality, all of the challenges and issues that reared their ugly head in 2014 were coming back, and possibly worse.

In years like this where every last little bit of water needs to be used fastidiously, we make a point to try and cover what acres we can plant with our GPS leveling equipment to be sure that all of our fields are uniformly level so we can use the minimum amount of water to grow our crop.

We also dry seed our rice so we can use minimal flushing to get the crop started too. And we have our first three fields planted and on our way.

In dry years like this it’s all you can do to make the best with what we have. It isn’t ideal, but like the rest of our state, we will make do which what we have and pray for rain.
As for now though, we, the wildlife and the aquifers will take the rain.


More about Tom: Tom Butler farms rice with his father, Steve, in Sutter and Yolo Counties. Tom is the fourth generation of his family to farm.

When he’s not on the job, the University of Nebraska graduate enjoys swimming, water polo, hunting and spending time with his family.