While farmers are plenty busy this time of the year getting their crop out of the field, one has to believe as they drive those fields and see the huge cracks in the ground that there is cause for some concern.
It is dry out there.
In fact, it is so dry in parts of the region that the national drought monitor has placed all or parts of counties in various levels of drought status.
As is indicated in the U.S. Drought Monitor map (right), which is an entity of the USDA, the southern half and westernmost portions of Redwood County are in severe drought, with the northern areas in moderate drought.
Naturally the level of drought status is based upon the amount of moisture in the ground and the lack of rain which has fallen in recent weeks.
According to information provided by the U.S. Drought Monitor in its weekly report published Sept. 20, 96 percent of the state’s landscape is considered to be in the abnormally dry or worse category, with topsoil moisture across 76 percent of the state’s landscape short or very short.
While drought is a concern, as the state faces another summer and fall with very little rainfall, statistics show the 2012 drought is not as severe as the two prominent droughts in recent history. In 1961, a drought hit Minnesota that left the ground well short of annual rainfall, with the drought of 1988 even eclipsing that year with the state seeing nearly 6.5 inches of rainfall less than would fall in a normal year. Trends show extreme drought conditions states including Texas and Oklahoma have been experiencing are moving north, and since Fall 2011 the area, despite spring rains is well short of the average amount of moisture.
The good news is Senators Amy Klobu-char and Al Franken and Reps Collin Peterson and Tim Walz recently announced USDA has issued a disaster declaration for counties in Minnesota affected by the ongoing drought. This declaration means farmers in these counties are now eligible for emergency loan assistance from the Farm Service Agency to help cover crop or livestock losses. Redwood and renville counties are deemed contiguous drought counties and are therefore eligible for assistance.