The governor declared a state of emergency to help farmers receive the farm fuels they need
By Diego Flammini
Minnesota state and federal leaders met with farmers this week to discuss the challenging harvest season.
Gov. Tim Walz and staff at the USDA’s office in East Grand Forks, Minn. hosted about 50 farmers Tuesday to talk about the wet conditions growers are facing at harvest and what assistance might be available.
“Basically, it’s going to be an unfolding event,” Gov. Walz said, the Grand Forks Herald reported. “This is going to be a stressful time. I wish there would be a certain date it would be over, but I think we’ll see this extending into next spring.”
Farmers in the state have harvested 22 percent of their corn and 62 percent of their soybeans, the USDA’s latest Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin said on Oct. 29.
Rhonda Larson, a cash crop producer from the local community, attended the meeting.
Multiple farmers brought up similar concerns about excessive moisture and how it’s slowing down harvest, she said.
“We have had, just in the fall on my farm, 12 inches of rain and seven inches of snow,” she told Farms.com. “We’ve never seen this kind of rain and, quite frankly, we can’t handle this kind of rain in the fall. Farmers have corn that’s standing in four feet of water and the I-29 has lakes all over it. The moisture has affected the whole Red River Valley.”
The day after the meeting, Gov. Walz issued a state of emergency.
As part of the declaration, Walz eased the load restrictions on roads and highways and ensured state counties have similar weight limits to allow transporters to carry more fuel to farmers who need it for grain drying.
While the emergency declaration will expedite fuel delivery to farmers, producers may need financial support after this season, Larson said.
“We’re trying to get some sort of federal aid and maybe state aid,” she said. “The state of emergency will mainly help farmers in southern Minnesota but, up here, we’ve barely got any crops off. There are miles and miles of crops still in fields, and our harvest window is closing.”
The executive order will be in effect for at least 30 days.