By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Minnesota is one of the top states in the nation when it comes to canning vegetable production.

Farmers grow a lot of sweet corn and peas, but that production will likely be down this year.

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“I’m 69 now and this is the worst year I’ve ever seen for dryness,” said Jim Possin.

As an organic farmer who specializes in feed corn, soybeans and canning peas, Possin is not immune to the challenges Mother Nature throws his way. Especially, this year, when most of the state has suffered from drought conditions.

The canning peas on his New Richland farm have a shorter growing season than most crops, meaning they need rain early.

Peas are planted in April and can go from the field to the store shelf in just a couple months. They are a 60-day crop and if they don’t grow in that window, their vines are hard to harvest.

“Some parts got rain, they are good. But the bulk of the peas, the crop really got hurt this year,” said Possin.

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It’s the same thing with sweet corn in some parts of the state. The prolonged heat more than anything else has impacted that crop as well.

On many farms sweet corn is short right now, but there’s still time to recover.

“The sweet corn crop, if you start getting rain now that’ll do better,” said Possin.

During a good year Possin would harvest 4,000 to 5,000 pounds of peas. This year it’ll be closer to 1,500 pounds. He’s hoping Mother Nature treats the black beans he just planted a little bit better.

“I know we planted black beans on the sixth and tenth of July and we were going down 3 inches to find moisture. That’s very unusual,” said Possin.

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Possin said the good news is that recent rains in Waseca County have helped corn and soybean crops get back on track.

John Lauritsen