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Dire drought conditions on farms prompts visit from Gov. Walz

While in Polk. Co. Governor Walz addressed the struggles farmers are facing, with their livelihood in jeopardy.
Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 5:45 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Governor Tim Walz spent the day in Polk Co. to see the devastating effects on this years harvest and speak with farmers who are struggling.

“I think it’s important that they came out and actually got to see what the crop looks like.” said Jim Reitmeier.

He has been a Minnesota farmer for 55 years, and said the only time he has dealt with a drought this bad was in the late 80s. Reitmeier said it was crucial for Gov. Walz to see just how bad the dry conditions have gotten, in case they lead to crop shortages and income trouble.

“It’s just a one-two gut punch on the heat and no rain.” said Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen.

Peterson said this visit was so they could see the first hand effects and request aid from the USDA. It’s not just farmers who are struggling...It’s ranchers, too who Petersen said many have began to run out of hay for their cattle.

“Being half or less of what is was for many farmers.. they don’t have that forage to feed to their animals.” said Petersen.

With the dry air and hot temps expected to continue in the short term, Reitmeier said the farming community is having to rely on each other.

“We’ve got to stick together through this and we will.” said Reitmeier.

While everyone hopes this is a once in a generation drought, Reitmeier said he is staying optimistic about now and the future.

“Well, there is always next year,” said Reitmeier, “That’s the way you have to look at it. You can’t dwell on what is going on in the short term you have to look at the long term.”

While in Polk. Co. Governor Walz addressed the struggles farmers are facing, with their livelihood in jeopardy.

“When we are talking mental health issues that ought to tell you where the situation is at, because this is a resilient group that has been through a lot...but this is getting pretty tough.” said Governor Walz.

The Governor urged the farmers to lean on their neighbors and the community for any help they need, and to seek help if they are struggling with their mental health as they battle the drought.

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