Minnesota farmers hope for more rain relief amid drought

While Wednesday’s rain may have been a nuisance for those with outdoor plans, it was a blessing for farmers in southern Minnesota amid current drought conditions.

In Minnesota, only about 2% of farmland is irrigated.

"I was at Bible study this morning and the pastor said rain's coming at 10 o’clock," Kaye Toquam of Five Generation Family Farm. "So our prayers have been answered."

Toquam has been praying for rain for her corn and soybeans in Claremont and Blooming Prairie all summer long, as drought conditions in the state dwarfed her livelihood.

"I can’t remember it like this at all, this is miserable," Toquam said.

"This has been probably one of the driest ones that I can remember and I’ll probably remember it for quite a long time," said Michael Frost of Frosty-Hill Farm in Pine Island. "Just going to check the rain gauge, so I believe it looks like 1.2 inches of rain." 

His area is still about six inches behind on rainfall compared to a normal year.

"It’s been probably 3 to 4 weeks since we got an inch of rain, so this is just the most welcome thing we could have right now," Frost said. "Were blessed, we feel really blessed right now."

Mid-July is a crucial stretch when rain is especially needed for the farmers.

"July for the corn, August for the beans," Frost explained. This is when the corn begins to tassel and soybeans blossom, but without rain, yields in the fall are doomed, and even now some damage may already be done."

"We have certain places where it’s really hurt," Frost added. "But not a majority of the crop, maybe 10%." 

Ten percent down, Frost has already forward-sold some of his crop, so he’s playing a numbers game, where his fortunes are dependent on help from the clouds above.

"This is really a lot of relief, I mean, I’m going to be able to sleep a lot better tonight because of this rain," Frost said.

The rain does farmers a lot of favors, but Mother Nature’s job is far from complete. Fields got an inch of rain mid-week, and they could use an inch each week this summer, something they just have not had.