HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The dry and hot weather conditions are creating challenges for local farmers. 

Bret Erickson, Director of Business Development for Little Bear Produce said their company has a total of 40 commodities such as cilantro, melons, and kale.

During the summer, Erickson said their main focus is cover crops which help nourish harvesting soil. 

Although cover crops do well during the summer, Erickson said that is not the case this year. 

“Some of those cover crops we have, you know, they are struggling from the heat and lack of rain, but that’s not, in particular, is not a bigger concern for us so much as the water shortage issue as we go into the upcoming season,” said Erickson.

If dry conditions continue, Erickson said the company plans to cut back on acres.

In addition to produce companies, small business farmers are also struggling this year.

Diana Padilla, co-owner of Yaweth All Natural Farm and Garden has been in business for over 10 years and said the current dry conditions are something she has not seen before. 

To help save her small business, Padilla plans to build ponds to catch water when it rains and use aquaponics.

“Aquaponics is growing your vegetables with fish and water, It uses way less water and it recycles the water,” said Padilla. “With the aquaponics, you’re actually farming the fish, you’re not farming the vegetables; the vegetables are benefiting from the residue of the fish.”

Padilla said the city of Harlingen is known to have the best water access but is currently under water restrictions.

If dry conditions and lack of rain continues, Padilla said she will start training other small farmers on how to use aquaponics.