The countdown: Top stories of 2012, No. 15-6Published 11:43am Monday, December 31, 2012
7. Drought continues to affect regional farmers
The 2012 harvest is well in the rearview mirror, but the concern that accompanied the entire growing season still persists: severe drought.
Since Aug. 2011, much of the region has suffered dry climate, and the soil moisture is depleted. Despite those conditions, some farmers were surprised at how their crops grew in 2012, such as the Tangrens from the Dexter-Elkton area. They reported average harvests for both beans and corn.
“It was an average year,” said Dave Tangren. “And we were pleasantly surprised.”
Still, the lack of moisture has farmers concerned about next year.
“There are no ‘ifs,’ ‘ands’ or ‘buts’ that we’re nervous,” Tangren added. “Every farmer is nervous.”
Many farmers echoed the same results as the Tangrens. They had average yields, but yields varied greatly from field to field. And farther south, in sandy soil near Lyle, some farmers mentioned poor harvests.
The Midwest will need plenty of steady rains throughout the spring to build back any significant soil moisture. For now, farmers can only cross their fingers.
—By Matt Peterson