Memorial Day rain puts further strain on Minnesota farmers

Monday's washout didn't completely cancel Memorial Day parades and ceremonies, but it kept farmers from their fields at a time when many want nothing more than to be planting.

“We have 80 acres we can’t get into because there’s water standing on it,” Hastings farmer Greg Stoffel said. 

On the unofficial start of summer, the last thing Stoffel wanted to see was more rain.

“We got corn and beans to put in yet, and our canning crop isn’t put in yet, so we’re delayed by quite a bit,” he said.

With oversaturated soil under cooler than normal temperatures, Stoffel, like many area farmers, is forced to wait to plant his corn and soybeans. Even though like on most farms, time is money.

“The river being as high as it is, we’re not getting the grain moved out. There’s no place to go with it and farmers could use the money, but they can’t get paid until they deliver. Now, this rain is putting things off,” he said.

University of Minnesota Extension Crops Educator David Nicolai says what the holiday rain does make official this year is that it will not be farming as usual.

“What farmers would want to see, certainly on Memorial Day, is sunshine,” he said. “There is some fallback situations, but as they say in the business, it’s hard to get ahead when you have years like this.” 

While self-insured Stoffel also expects yields to be down, he somehow keeps a sunny attitude. 

“You gotta take the good with the bad. It was never meant to be easy,” he said. “Mother Nature is still the boss no matter what we do or the technology we have in front of us. Mother Nature still dictates to us how it’s going to be."

While some farmers will have access to insurance programs, it doesn’t allow for the same profit they’d have in a normal year.

Nicolai also said the excess rainfall could drive up the price of corn and soybeans.

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