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Ohio orchards face frosty forecast, fear fruit failure

Freezing temperatures can put apple, peach, and pear crops in jeopardy.

RITTMAN, Ohio — For fruit farmer Brett Bauman, April in Ohio means stress. 

Rollercoaster weather means many sleepless nights. Bauman has a target temperature. "Anytime it gets below 30 degrees, we start to worry about it." 

The Bauman family has been growing fruit in Rittman, Ohio since 1929. This is a critical time of year for all orchards. At Bauman Orchards, much of the 200 acres of apple and peach trees here are starting to bloom. 

The forecasted snow isn't the problem with the blossoms. It's frost. But spread out between the rows of trees are frost fans. Circulated air can keep the trees safe, but it can't get too far below freezing. 

Brett explains, "anything below 27 degrees this time of year, you're going to get some damage... If we can get it up above that, we can save the whole crop." One degree can make a difference. 

If not, according to his brother Bryce, prices could go up. "Supply goes down, demand will stay the same or go up so the price will naturally have to increase." Which is not good news for consumers. If the freeze damages the blossoms, apples and everything made from them will cost more. 

Farming is about controlling what you can, and hoping for the best. Mother Nature always has the final say, but the Bauman's are pulling out all the stops, looking for help wherever they can find it, even reaching out to a higher powers for help. 

Bryce is going straight to the top. "I guess just pray a little bit, pray that we make it through." 

Brett on the other hand, hopes for a television miracle. "If Betsy (Kling) can maybe give us a good forecast, maybe we will make it through." 

RELATED: FORECAST | Here we go again: Tracking accumulating snow this week in Northeast Ohio

I'm sure any warm thoughts sent their way would be greatly appreciated. Best of luck to all those farms that will be facing down the coming cold. We're sending warm thoughts your way. 

RELATED: Should you protect your plants during the cold snap?

Editor's Note: The above video was from a previously published story

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