Prospects for precipitation

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BISMARCK, N.D. - Last year, all of North Dakota suffered through a drought. Now the question is, what will 2018 be like?

Farmers, like John Weinand near Menoken, had a difficult growing season last year. Forecasters are indicating they may get some relief.

Acres of crops were run through the baler last year, some getting only five inches of moisture throughout the whole season.

"That was the toughest year I've ever had, last year," said Weinand.

Despite that, Weinand says he is sticking to his crop rotation for this year.

"Eternally hopeful, that's right. It always changes. As quickly as it gets dry it can get wet and we know that," said Weinand.

It looks like his hopes may not be misplaced.

"Where we have severe drought in Montana, Southwest North Dakota, that is where drought will likely persist, because we need moisture in those places. But improvement is expected here in most of central and western North Dakota," said Chief Meteorologist Kevin Lawrence.

The North Dakota Wheat commission says price improvement helps everybody in the business recover from a bad year. It looks like a number of crops are seeing growth, including sunflowers.

"By the end of our market year, which is the end of September, stocks are going to be very tight, and that should keep prices firm to seeing possibly even rising here in the next few months," said John Sandbakken, National Sunflower Association.

The Wheat Commission says they are seeing a price increase from $5 to $6-7, which should keep wheat out of the baler.

"We've had five years of record world wheat production just put a lot of pressure on prices and hopefully we've turned the corner on that," said Jim Peterson, North Dakota Wheat Commission.

Both farm groups expect to see higher acreages for their respective crops in the coming year, and hopefully higher profits.

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., as chairman of the agricultural appropriations, has secured more funding this year for aiding producers that have suffered from drought conditions, moving $3.5 billion in disaster funding to support agricultural needs as part of Thursday's budget deal.