Race Against The Clock

Published: Oct. 15, 2019 at 10:39 PM CDT
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The weather has been the story of the season, and farmers have been handed another blow with the recent snow. Now they're being forced to weigh bad options.

A year like no other, that's how North Dakota Grain Growers described this year's conditions.

After enduring a late planting season, the markets are now being somewhat favorable. But now, farmers can't get their combines into the field, leaving good crops out to rot.

Now, they're considering asking for a Disaster Declaration.

It's a race against the clock in rural North Dakota.

According to the USDA, roughly 10 percent of small grains are still out in the fields. Left to sprout and rot. Bur grain growers say 10 percent is an underestimate.

“There are instances where you know the crop is ready, but you physically can't get in and get it. It's very uncharacteristic for our area to be this wet. It's a challenge," said Tom Bernhardt, North Dakota Grain Growers Association.

With some grains, corn, and soybeans unsuitable for harvest, farmers are watching them as their margins deplete. Leaving them with little to no financial options.

"As far as our bottom dollar, the bank wants to get paid. If the price stays low, the soybeans we do get off or the corn, it's kind of a domino effect, I guess," said Mark Formo, North Dakota Grain Growers Association.

The North Dakota Grain Growers Association has discussed reaching out to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue asking for a Disaster Declaration, which would help farmers and crop insurance companies ease some of the pressure following the early snow storms. But growers say there's only 1 good option.

"What farmers need is for Mother Nature to agree with us. There's nothing that we can do. There's not a magic pill out there that you can send out. The banker can't come out and say 'I'll fix it for you, it's gonna be no problem.' That's not gonna happen," Formo said.

What farmers need to happen if for the weather pattern to change.

They are now bracing for a very wet winter. The problem is that dryers can take at least 15 percent of their expected profits. So to off-set the losses, grain growers are talking to Gov. Doug Burgum and the North Dakota Delegation to seek a Disaster Declaration.

This would lump additional North Dakota counties into federal legislation passed over the summer.

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