Minot farmers learn about the pro's and con's to weather modification

MINOT, N.D.- Minot-area farmers gathered at the extension center to learn more about an issue that has divided many across Ward County over the past year.

Weather modification has existed for decades, but some farmers in Ward County are still learning how it works.

"I think it's a viable technique when applied correctly," said Associate Research Professor at NDSU, David Delene.

The issue hit a nerve with many farmers last summer, who argued the practice was making the drought worse.

The County Farm Bureau and Farmer's Union hosted the event, giving farmer's a chance to learn more about it.

"I didn't feel like I knew enough about it so I thought there must be a lot more farmers besides myself that would like to know more about this," said Ward County Farmers Union President, Bob Finken.

How it works is the weather mod flies planes that inject chemicals into clouds. In some instances, the chemicals allow for more rainfall, while other times it's used to break up hail stones.

But, after last year's drought, some county farmers still say they're skeptical about the results.

"Sometimes it might cause it to hail in smaller hail droplets, which to a ripe crop are more damaging," said Ward County Commissioner John Fjeldahl.

Ward county is one of six counties in North Dakota currently funding weather modification.
The Ward County Weather Modification Board narrowly voted to go forward with the program this year by a vote of 3 to 2, following some debate at a meeting in Kenmare.

The board will meet again later this spring.