Minnesota farmers may need to abandon efforts, rely on insurance this year

Mother Nature has not been kind to farmers both here in Minnesota and across the Midwest.

Some farmers have not even been able to plant any crops in their fields because of the cold, wet spring. Now, they have some tough choices to make about their future.

Brian Thalmann points to his saturated corn and soybean fields as he braces for yet another week of potential rain that will soak the ground even more.

The fifth generation farmer from Plato has seen his fair share of challenges in the industry, but he forecasts the next six months are a make or break season for farmers across the state.

“It’s really frustrating. We can deal with challenging weather, we can deal with challenging markets, we can deal with other things, but when you put them all together, it’s tough,” Thalmann said.

The unusually wet and cold spring has taken a toll on farmers across the Midwest, preventing some from planting any crops in the ground.

The latest report shows Minnesota only has 19 percent of their corn and soybeans in. By comparison, at this time five years ago, nearly 83 percent of it was done.

Now, some may need to abandon their efforts and rely on insurance to get by another year.

“There’s no farmer around that wants to go that route. You’re much better off planting the crop, but if Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate, at some point you have to do something,” Thalmann said.

While there are no breaks in sight, farmers are also closely monitoring the markets as trade talks continue.

Thalmann said if negotiations don't improve, many farmers can't survive the current conditions.

“If agriculture is pulled down, it’s going to pull everyone else down.”

The final planting date for corn in southern Minnesota is May 31. For soybeans, it's the beginning of June.

Farmers are required to provide a notice of loss to an insurance agent within 72 hours after the final planting date if they do not intend to put crops in the ground.