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More Minn. Farmers May Be Planting Wheat This Year Due To Russia-Ukraine War

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Minnesota farmers are getting ready for spring planting and most hope to be in the field by mid-April. But some farmers could be planting a different crop this year.

"Farmers tend to be eternal optimists when we look at every year in terms of the weather coming up," said Dave Nicolai, University of Minnesota Extension.

Coming off one of the worst droughts on record, a wet spring is exactly what Minnesota corn and soybean fields need – especially with commodity prices the highest they've been in years.

"They are booming. Wheat prices we have not seen in well over a decade," said Ed Usset, Grain Market Economist with the University of Minnesota.

Wheat could be a more popular crop than ever before. Both Russia and Ukraine are two of the biggest wheat exporters in the world. But if war keeps them from planting this spring, some farmers here may look to fill the void.

"There might be some producers in the northwestern part of the state who haven't secured their nitrogen and all their fertilizer needs to plant corn or other crops. Wheat might be a good, last minute fill-in, in those acres," said Usset.

Usset said the climate in Russia and Ukraine is similar to our state, which makes it conducive to wheat – especially in the northwest.

It's also a cheaper crop to plant here. But farmers who do decide to go that route will have to take into account the rising costs of fertilizer and fuel.

Unexpected decisions to be made for some Minnesota farmers, thanks to a conflict on the other side of the world.

"As they go into planting season this year, they are not only looking at incredibly good prices, volatile prices, they are also looking at input costs they haven't seen in maybe ever," said Usset.

Usset said consumers should expect to see higher prices for bread and flour in the future, based on what's happening between Russia and Ukraine.

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

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