Douglas farmer talks impact of drought on crops

Published: Jun. 29, 2020 at 3:49 PM CDT
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Farmers and ranchers say they are feeling the impact of little to no rain over the past few weeks.

The 400 acres of wheat on Bob Finken's farm in Douglas haven't received enough water in nearly a month.

"It's affecting the crop by reducing the height, and I just know from experience come harvest time, there will not be as much yield there either," said Finken.

Finken has farmed this land for more than 40 years.

He said although weather changes are par for the course, this last month has taken its toll.

"It's sometimes hard to keep a cheery attitude even when you know that we're losing a lot of yield potential and income," said Finken.

Grant Buck, the Ward County executive director for Farmers Service Agency, said weather conditions in Minot have been about 38 percent of normal precipitation since April and get dryer near Douglas.

“We have had quite a drop in our normal precipitation. As we get into the south western parts of our country they're even dryer. They are only about 25 percent of normal,” said Buck.

Buck said that conditions need to remain dry or the state drought monitor needs to reach a higher level before assistance programs become available.

“If we do hit a D3 level of drought that will open up our livestock forage program, which compensates producers for grazing losses. We also can get there if we hit at a d2, but we need 8 consecutive weeks of a D2 rating,” said Buck.

For now, farmers like Finken will keep their hopes up for some much-need rain.

In the past the FSA also reimbursed a portion of money to farmers facing drought through the whip program. For more information on assistance, visit the FSA or USDA websites.

To track your county's drought level, visit the United States drought monitor website.