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Area farmers having good 2010 season

Area farmers have had an extremely positive year with good crops and good prices.

"We've got a lot of happy farmers out there," said Mike Stevens, Farm Service Agency executive director for Hubbard County.

In his 15 years working for the Farm Service Agency in the county, Stevens said this is "probably the best year I've seen."

Hubbard County has about 50,000 acres of crop land, which includes corn, edible beans, wheat and potatoes.

"I've been reporting good to excellent weekly conditions throughout the summer," Stevens said.

The potato harvest is expected to start in the next week, which is ahead of schedule, he said. Last year, crops were about two weeks late, which doesn't leave a lot of time for tillage.

"The only real concern I've heard is from our hay guys," he said. "There's been an abundance of moisture."

The big picture shows favorable crop prices. Stevens attributes the good prices to increased need in other countries.

"Crop prices are rising and it's nice to be on the receiving end," he said.

Corn has been selling for $3.64 per bushel, wheat for $5.75 per bushel and soybeans for $9.50 per bushel, Stevens said.

As harvesting continues this fall, the ideal weather for farmers would be drier.

"The rain could turn off now," Stevens said.

Last year was a wet, cool summer, which resulted in crop losses. This year has brought a much better crop yield, Stevens said.

One area of farming that has continued to struggle, however, is dairy, Stevens said.

"Milk prices are not great," he said. "We've got maybe a half dozen dairy farms in the county."

A turn-around in the economy would help the dairy industry, Stevens said.

FSA has seen an increase in facility loans for Hubbard County farmers. The loan program is for farmers to put up grain bins and grain dryers.

"Because of unforeseen activities, we've been seeing more interest in these grain bins," Stevens said. "This way, farmers can store crops while prices are low and sell when prices are higher."

Farmers can apply for the loans at the FSA office in Park Rapids at 212 2nd Street West, Park Rapids or call 732-9723.

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