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Minn. Farmland Inundated with Water; Corn, Soybean Crops Suffer Damage

Updated: 06/20/2014 6:22 PM
Created: 06/20/2014 4:13 PM KSTP.com
By: Stephen Tellier

Successive storms have soaked farm fields across the state, raising concerns about potential crop damage. Fields are flooded to the north, and out west, in Luverne County, an estimated 100,000 acres of crops are damaged.

In Goodhue County, one farmer is dealing with about 90 acres of farmland that is underwater. What was once dry land is now a raging river. And when there are fish cruising through your crops, that is an issue.

"Monday morning, there was no water here at all," said Steve Lindstrom, who owns about 1,850 acres of farmland near Welch.

By Friday afternoon, Lindstrom had 90 acres of farmland fully submerged -- mostly corn and soybeans. He said the situation is not unprecedented, but it's still extremely unfortunate.

"What a waste," Lindstrom said.

And what a wallop to his wallet.

"My 94 acres down here will be about a $50,000 loss," Lindstrom said.

"It may not have wiped out entire crops for farmers, but all of the crops in low areas are going to be affected, and some will be lost completely, and others will be stunted and held back," said Seth Naeve, an associate professor of agronomy and plant genetics at the University of Minnesota.

You can see the difference between the healthy, green stalks of corn grown on campus, and the shorter, yellow ones -- those are seriously waterlogged. And the crop damage could ripple right into your grocery store, in the form of higher prices.

"This has the potential to affect the normal consumer, especially if it's put together with other events in other states," Naeve said

Lindstrom said he's hoping to make up some of that potential shortfall himself.

"Maybe if this went down real quick, I could replant, if I could get it in by the 1st of July. But that only gives you ten days for all this water to disappear, get the trees cleaned up and get it dry enough to get a tractor on. It's probably not going to happen," Lindstrom said.

Lindstrom also said some of the corn stalks may be salvageable -- they can sometimes survive two to four days under water. But that's contingent on the waters receding in that amount of time.

Lindstrom said he does have crop insurance, but the cost of what he's lost is basically the equivalent of his deductible.


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