Severe drought affecting local farmers

(ABC 6 News) – For the first time since January of 2004, Olmsted County has moved into extreme drought conditions.

It’s part of 2% of the state experiencing extreme drought.

Farmers in the area already see the impact and they’re hoping for rain soon.

“It’s definitely been an interesting year, one we won’t forget,” farmer Jason Welter said.

Welter has a farm in Stewartville where he grows corn and soybeans.

He said the year has been challenging.

“So far our beans are looking fairly well, they’re a little behind schedule from last year maybe a week or so in terms of height,” said Welter.

Corn and soybean fields in Mower, Fillmore, and Dodge County have seen less than two inches of rain since mid-May according to the La Crosse National Weather Service office.

It’s that lack of rain Welter called concerning.

“We did have to replant some so there’s a lot of variability in terms of pollination right now, and it’s very crucial to have good weather for the week before and the week after pollination, and that’s kinda what we’re up against right now and it’s a little bit concerning with the week going forward with the hot temperatures,” said Welter.

Agriculture and food scientists said this drought has the potential to impact yields across Minnesota.

“We will probably start to see a ding in the crop yield itself come fall,” Welter said.

Recent data showed that falling yields can mean higher food prices for consumers.

As for Welter, he remains optimistic and tries not to worry about the drought.

No matter what, he still has a job to do as a farmer.

“We started wet and is now ending really dry, we don’t know what the future holds but that’s why we do it and we’ll be optimistic and hopefully have a good crop and learn for next year and go from there,” said Welter.