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Minn. Farms Hit By Flooding, Hail Risk Huge Crop Loss

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(credit: CBS) John Lauritsen
John Lauritsen is a reporter from Montevideo, Minn. He joined WCCO-...
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LE SUEUR, Minn. (WCCO) — The recent storms that have hit much of the state, didn’t just impact homeowners and businesses. Farmers south and west of the Twin Cities have experienced extensive flood and hail damage. Now, some corn and soybean fields won’t bounce back.

Worse yet, crop insurance won’t cover everything, so some farmers can expect hundreds of thousands of dollars in crop losses.

Dave and Robyn Pfarr know the situation all too well. Their spring planting went well, but on June 19, in the span of a half hour, a big portion of their corn and soybean crops were destroyed costing them $150,000 in personal loss.

“Never. I’ve never seen devastation like this in this particular area,” said Robyn.

The Pfarr’s have been farming 800 acres near Le Sueur for 22 years. They are used to watching their corn pop up, not get beat back. They have golf-ball sized hail to thank for this damage.

“All 800 of our acres have been hit. We are talking about a 20 to 25 percent loss on all of our acres,” said Robyn.

The Pfarr’s have it bad, but even Robyn will admit that there are neighbors in Sibley County who have up to 60 percent yield loss. Even the stalks that are trying to grow back won’t amount to anything.

Flooding is a big part of the loss and a dark circle in a nearby soybean field show where water did away with some plants. But during the early morning hours of June 19, a hailstorm moved across 100 miles of Southern Minnesota, from Redwood Falls to New Prague. It was 15 miles wide in some spots- and nearly every field it hit it shredded.

“There’s more black than green here, which you never want to see at this point in the ballgame,” said Robyn while surveying a corn field.

Robyn said the opportunity to replant has passed, and a half-hour hailstorm is now responsible for a year of crop loss.

“We do like to spend money and it generates our whole small town economy. I don’t think these communities in particular have seen this loss for a long time,” said Robyn.

Robyn said that when farmers lose money they don’t spend money. And that impacts a lot of local businesses.

Even some of the corn plants that made it through could be susceptible to disease if their stalks were at all affected by the hail.

The Pfarr’s and other farmers may have to harvest early due to the condition of some corn.

That means they can’t let the corn dry in the field and will have to use dryers to help with that, which costs gas money.

The problem stretches well beyond Sibley County. McLeod, Carver and others are also impacted.

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