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The harvest is well underway in Hubbard County with most crops two weeks ahead of normal. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

Drought causing some crop loss

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Many farmers in Hubbard County have had an excellent summer while some have experienced some loss due to the drought.

"The first thing I'd like to point out with our crop conditions is that things are progressing really well for our row crop folks," said Hubbard County Farm Service Agency executive director Mike Stevens. "However, in that northern part of Hubbard we've got some forage losses, including the hay ground and pasture ground for the beef cattle.

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He has heard that some people have only gotten two cuttings this year and usually this area gets three cuttings.

U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken and Representatives Collin Peterson and Tim Walz announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a disaster declaration this week for counties in Minnesota affected by the ongoing drought. Hubbard County is among the list of affected counties.

This declaration means that farmers in these counties are now eligible for emergency loan assistance from the FSA to help cover crop or livestock losses.

"As this drought continues it's putting increasing strain on Minnesota's farmers and ranchers," Klobuchar said in a news release. "This action by the USDA is another important step in helping our farmers get through these challenging times, and I will continue to work to ensure they have the support they need."

"Minnesota's farmers and livestock producers need to know they'll be able to survive a bad year, and this assistance will help them cover their losses and get back on their feet," Franken said. "I've been fighting for legislation that would restore federal drought relief programs that have lapsed, and it's still incredibly important that we pass a comprehensive Farm Bill this year so farmers all over the country know they can count on a safety net when their livelihoods are threatened."

Other area counties included in the designation are Becker, Beltrami, Cass, Clearwater, Otter Tail and Wadena.

Stevens is encouraging farmers to keep good records and pictures so they can be eligible for emergency loan assistance.

"Everything was looking good until about two weeks ago," Stevens said.

The harvest has been running earlier than usual this year. The potato harvest began Aug. 4 and edible row crops are being harvested right now.

Prices for crops are decent, Stevens said. The prices aren't great but many are better than last year, he added.

Organic farmers are seeing higher prices as well.

With a lot of farm machinery and trucks on the road right now, Stevens is asking people to give them plenty of room.

The Hubbard County FSA office is open Wednesdays in Park Rapids. Call 732-9723 for more information. Stevens can be reached in Wadena during the rest of the week at 218-631-2876.

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Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561
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