Dakota Farmers Slammed by Worsening Drought Conditions
Experts told us some producers will feel the effects of this dry season for many years
LEONARD, ND — Farmers and ranchers in North Dakota are concerned about extreme drought conditions creeping into the eastern side of the state.
Some Ag experts said we haven’t had drought conditions this bad since 2006.
Last year’s harvest held an abundant yield for many North Dakota farmers.
But with drought conditions and little rain, the same can’t be said for 2017.
“It’s getting tough out there,” said Leonard farmer Mark Nesemeier.
As the end of July draws near, Nesemeier is confident this season will be worse than the last.
“So far, we have kept all our cattle and we’ve kept them all on grass,” he said. “But we’re in the process of getting ready to start calves on feed here pretty soon.”
Mark said his pastures are looking the way they normally do in July.
Whether or not this affects him in the long run depends on how much snow his land gets this winter.
NDSU’s Carl Dahlen said it’s far worse in the western half of the Peace Garden State.
The misfortune began last November, one of the warmest on record.
“Some of these guys were out there all the way until November,” Dahlen said. “Then come about the first December, Mother Nature decided to throw winter at us.”
He said the heavy winter storms and the sudden dry conditions put a lot of stress on western Dakota cattle.
Their climatologists said chances for relief are slim.
Dahlen said the weather is forcing some ranchers to sell cattle crucial to breeding.
With this and widespread crop failure, there are producers who will feel the effects of this dry season for many years.
“This everything they know,” explained Dahlen. “So people do everything they can to maintain the best health and the best interest of those animals.”
As for Nesemeier, he said preparing for bad seasons is just a part of being in the business.
“There’s no in and out in agriculture anymore,” he said “You either got to commit to it, or you don’t do it.”
For more information on how producers can prepare for worsening drought conditions, click here.