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"This is a critical stage right now": Worsening drought could impact prices at the grocery store

Drought conditions likely to worsen as little rain is in the forecast
Drought conditions likely to worsen as little rain is in the forecast 01:41

MINNEAPOLIS -- Without significant rain in the forecast, Minnesota's drought conditions are likely to continue getting worse.

It's led to a lot of finger-crossing among Minnesota's farmers.

"Not always a lot you can do as a farmer except hope for that rain and really watch the sky," said Thom Petersen, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner.

More than a quarter of the state is experiencing at least some level of drought. Severe drought has settled in across several counties south of the metro.

"This is a critical stage right now, for especially for our corn and soybean crop," Petersen said. "Minnesota has over 3,000 fruit and vegetable growers around the state...This is their time, again, to make the crop and make that whole."

When crop yields don't get to where they need to be, not only is it a blow to the farmers' livelihoods, but Petersen says farmers markets won't have the same selection for shoppers, and grocery store prices can go up.

Unfortunately, there's not much relief in sight, at least from Mother Nature.

"The forecast going forward does continue to show a lack of rain chances," said WCCO meteorologist Lisa Meadows. "Our only next chance for rain is Tuesday. That's going to be thunderstorms, and it's not the widespread, steady rain that we need."

Petersen believes solutions will be found in the fields.

"We see farmers adopting already different practices whether it's reduced tillage, using cover crops, looking at third crop options," he said. "There's going to be a lot of positive changes as well."

Farmers can have insurance to make up for low yields, but Petersen says it's not enough to make them whole.

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