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Pueblo County farmers optimistic about growing season

Pueblo County farmers optimistic for growing season

PUEBLO COUNTY, Colo. - Pueblo farmers are optimistic going into the summer months. Last year many had to limit how much they planted because of the drought.

Shane Milberger farmed about 40 percent of his land last year. This year, he's farming nearly all of it.
"In comparison to last year, it's a much better year. We have a better water source. We have had good winter storage."

Last year was the worst he's ever seen. After the state pulled water from his wells, more than half of his land went unused.

Milberger said, "Every summer, every year is different. There's always some issue."

This year, he's farming nearly all of his 300 acres but still dealing with a water shortage.

"We didn't get as much water as we needed. We ordered 300 acre feet. We got 60 acre feet which is not a sufficient amount of to grow crops."

But it's not water that he's most worried about now. It's finding people to harvest his 50 types of crops, including summer squash and his signature Pueblo chile.

"We're having to bring all of our labor force from Mexico and go through a lot of hassles through Homeland Security and the government."

Milberger is looking for employees who can work 10-hour days in the field harvesting and packing crops.

"There's not enough labor out there for the truck farmer or the garden growers as you would call it."

Milberger expects his green chile harvest to be ready by mid-July.

KRDO NewsChannel 13 checked with Mauro Farms. Last year they farmed 65 percent of their land. This year they've farmed all of it.

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