Valley farmers work through bitter cold

ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — Many of us avoid being outside in the bitterly cold weather, but farmers in the valley don't have a choice other than to be outdoors working.

When the weather is very cold, the physical labor can make farmers too hot quickly. Farmers have to prepare for the cold, while making sure they don't overheat, according to Gordon Driver, the president of Activity Farms Incorporated.

"We usually dress up in layers," Driver said. "If we get to working and get warm, well then we take a layer off or two, and if we get cold, we put it back on."

Farming also takes much more time in the cold, especially tending to livestock.

"Normally, a two-hour chore on a 70 degree day will take four hours on a zero degree day," Driver said.

Things take even more time when the cold causes machinery to stop working.

Driver was loading grain into his truck on Thursday when he realized part of the machine was frozen.

"It just quit running this morning," Driver said, "which, you know in cold weather that's usually what happens."

With these challenges slowing things down, farmers are exposed to the cold longer, which can be dangerous.

"We gotta stay warm too," Driver said. "We're working longer, we're cold while we're working."

But taking breaks to warm up adds even more time.

Despite these problems, Driver says he wouldn't have it any other way.

"We have to put up with a little cold weather, but then when it's 100 degrees outside, we have to put up with that too," Driver said. "So I like my four seasons, so that's why I stay here."