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Slow Spring Costing Farmers, Builders Money

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(credit: CBS) Esme Murphy
Esme Murphy, a reporter and Sunday morning anchor for WCCO-TV, h...
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By Esme Murphy, WCCO-TV

MONTROSE, Minn. (WCCO) — Let’s face it, for most Minnesotans the cold weather has been reason to whine a bit — but it hasn’t cost us money.

But for those people who depend on the rising temperatures that usually accompany the advancing spring season, this cool weather has taken a bite out of their wallets.

Contractors have had to delay work and for farmers it means delays on getting those crops into the ground and eventually to consumers.

Just west of Delano on Untiedt’s vegetable farm there are tents of tomato plants and even though they are sheltered from the weather, they are behind.

“Last year they were an additional foot-and-a-half high at this time. We were sitting at six or seven fruit clusters per plant,” said farmer Paul Nelson.

Even the tunnels covering the tomatoes can’t keep all the cold out. They will grow but they will be getting to your farmer’s market later than last year.

“Last year we started harvesting around the 1st of June, this year we’re going to look more around the 15th of June,” said Nelson.

Nearby, workers stretch what look like giant sheets to protect the sweet corn that’s already in the ground.

“If we don’t do this, we may lose the crops that we have planted here,” said Nelson.

But it’s not just farmers who are struggling. For 60 years, Ole Hage has been planting his concrete signs as he pours new steps, driveways and sidewalks.

“We are at least two weeks behind in our work,” said Hage. “The ground just wasn’t suitable or the area just wasn’t suitable for pouring concrete.”

But now the ground has thawed enough for him to start jobs.

“My dad used to say ‘You’ll never make it up.’ So we won’t make it up but we will be OK,” said Hage.

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