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How Minnesota's lack of rain impacts farmers, and everyone's pocketbooks

How Minnesota’s lack of rain impacts farmers, and everyone’s pocketbooks
How Minnesota’s lack of rain impacts farmers, and everyone’s pocketbooks 02:03

DAKOTA COUNTY, Minn. – There are fresh concerns among farmers in Dakota County as Minnesota again experiences a prolonged period without rain.

The nerves are perhaps even more pronounced now because farmers are still recovering from the extreme drought last summer.

The latest drought monitor labels Minnesota as abnormally dry. Last year at this time, the conditions were actually better, but it's a different story six months later.

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Last year, Dakota County farmer Jerry Werner, 82, said his family lost half the crop. Today, the fourth-generation farmer is still keeping the faith. This is his 65th crop on a farm his family's owned for 150 years.  


"I survived major surgeries and a bad stroke last fall, and still going, still farming," Werner said. "I was out on the tractor every day this spring."

Werner's farm is one of more than 800 in Dakota County, according to the latest USDA survey. The produce doesn't just feed us – it helps grow the economy from factories to farmers' markets.

The Werners do own crop insurance, but they caution that only helps them and not the consumer. As supply goes down, prices always go up.

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"And then the people in the city will have to pay more for it and then they'll complain again. But it all comes back to if the farmer don't get a crop, then they're gonna have to pay more money," he said.

According to the Werners, installing an irrigation system could cost at least $200,000. Ideally, they say crops need at least one inch of rain per week.

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