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Southwest Michigan farmers concerned warm weather will kill crops

While unseasonably warm weather in February may seem like a gift, it could have catastrophic results for farmers.

Fluctuating temperatures could lead to destruction of several crops.

That makes farmer Mike Hildebrand nervous.

“Mother natures is a pretty brutal business partner,” Hildebrand said.

Hildebrand is already seeing buds pop up at his family’s Berrien County fruit farm.

He says that’s way too early for the cherries, apples and peaches.

“They lose their heartiness,” Hildebrand said.

He’s also concerned about the grapes he grows for Welch's.

While Hildebrand says price changes can’t be predicted yet, there’s always the possibility that produce could be pricey this summer.

“Supply and demand sets the price,” Hildebrand said.

Across the county in Sawyer, Craig Goodenough says hasn’t even looked at his blueberry patch yet out of fear.

“If you get the buds out and the flowers start too early. you get a freeze. They’ll be damaged,” Goodenough said.

Goodenough says he is expecting local produce to be more expensive this year.

While this February is  causing both crops and nerves to grow early for Berrien County farmers, they say it’s too early to grow conclusions..

“Let’s wait and see what happens. I don’t want to ring any alarm bells yet. I’m not panicking. I’m anxious,” Hildebrand said.

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