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Grasshoppers by the thousands make it hard for farmers

Estimated read time: 1-2 minutes

PARK VALLEY, Box Elder County — It's a tough situation to be in. Already, farmers are tightly restricted on their water out here in Park Valley and suddenly what little hay is growing is now getting gobbled up by bugs.

Farming is a constant struggle; always hoping for the right conditions.

"Don't we live on faith?" Royce Larsen laughed.

Larsen is now seeing some of the worst conditions he's ever experienced. Two years of severe drought and now the grasshoppers are back again too. They started showing up in May.

"Little ones like this, just by the thousands," Larsen said.

They're covering enough of his 7,000 acres to be a big problem. The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food does offer a cost-sharing program that pays for chemicals to treat fields, but between wind and rain, Larsen said they got to it too late this year.

"Hay is $300 to $400 a ton … there's no way you can feed cows and survive you know,"

That's what Larsen's faced with now. Not enough of an alfalfa crop to feed his cattle this winter. He may have to sell some of them off as it all becomes not worth the cost.

"I don't know how we're going to make it. I really do," Larsen said.

According to the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, the grasshoppers run in about a five- to six-year cycle and it appears this one timed unfortunately badly with the drought.

It's hard to predict how it will go, but the department says it's likely that the problem has not yet reached its peak.

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Mike Anderson
Mike Anderson often doubles as his own photographer, shooting and editing most of his stories. He came to KSL in April 2011 after working for several years at various broadcast news outlets.


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