Minnesota farmers desperate for rain amid drought

Minnesota farmers are desperate for rain amid this drought.

A near statewide drought has many Minnesota farmers feeling uneasy right now. Their corn and soybean crops are withering away each day that passes without much-needed rain.

"It’s probably the driest I’ve seen it in my farming career now," Wright County farmer Dan Glessing said.

Glessing is approaching the three-week mark since his 800-acre farm last got any help from Mother Nature. 

"An inch a week is what we’d like to see, with sunshine and heat to help grow that crop to maturity," Glessing said.

Right now the area is five inches behind the normal amount of rainfall - and a stretch of 90-degree weather did not help. 

"The evaporation was phenomenal. The dew point was low, the winds were up, and it was so hot that it just dried our soil out," Glessing explained.

Now the lifelong farmer is glued to weather forecasts because his lifeblood depends on it. 

"There’s a chance Wednesday afternoon, Thursday afternoon, and over the weekend," Glessing said of the forecast. "The best Father’s Day present I could get is a nice all-day rain on Sunday."

After the hottest start to June in Minnesota on record, a majority of the state is experiencing drought conditions. Without that water, farms are at a tipping point as corn plants curl up to defend themselves from the sun.

"At some point, if it turns brown, you know you’re not going to get anything. We’re hoping to get something even though it’s shriveled up," Glessing said. "Number one: it’s financially disappointing, but number two: we put our heart and soul into this crop. We’re up against Mother Nature, and this fall will be disappointing, to say the least, if we can’t get a rain here pretty soon."

"We have 25 - 26 million acres of crop land in Minnesota, but of that we’re only irrigating probably 500,000 to 600,000 acres," said Dave Nikolai with the University of Minnesota.

There’s still a chance of recovery and a good crop yield in the fall if the fields get some rain, but’s that’s the million-dollar question - whether that rain will come soon enough.