Farmers in the Minnesota River Valley struggle with drought

This summer, drought conditions on Minnesota farms aren't as widespread as they were last year, but in some pockets of the state, farmers are still feeling pinched by Mother Nature.

The driest conditions are centered around the metro, in a thin stripe of moderate to severe drought along the Minnesota River Valley.

In that area, some farmers are predicting up to a 50% loss in their yields for the second consecutive year. Washington County farmer Fran Miron says until now, he'd never seen two droughts like these on his 250 acres.

"And it's interesting because we're just kind of in a pocket," Miron said. "There were farmers just a little bit to our south that have gotten over 2 inches of rain."

Yet for the second year in a row, Mother Nature is neglecting Miron, "An inch of rain right now is just invaluable," he said. "Our crop at this time looks very similar to what it did a year ago."

After a dry July, the corn's growth is stunted, with its leaves shriveling and turning brown. Miron counts on the corn to feed 400 head of cattle in his dairy herd, "if we got a shot of rain that could make a world of difference right now," Miron said.

Back in the spring, the same fields were actually too wet. But now, Miron says he's behind four to five inches of rain on the season. And even with plenty of rain the rest of the way, he's only expecting about half of a normal yield.

During last summer's drought, the farm took on about $90,000 in additional expenses, and this year they are on pace to repeat that again, in part because they now need to buy the corn they're struggling to grow in order to feed their cattle.