Farmers hope this poor season was once-in-a-lifetime

Not every farm responded to this year's difficult planting season the same way.

Some delayed planting, but Ed Twohey's Stewartville farm actually over-planted corn this year, but only to compensate for the alfalfa lost during the winter.

He usually sells his extra crop in markets, like Feltis, but this year he might not even have enough to feed his dairy farm, even with the extra 100 acres he planted.

"Hopefully, we have enough feed for the cows this winter," Twohey said.

Now that the time for planting has passed, the corn that did get planted is still two and a half feet shorter than it should be.


Luckily, many farmers purchased crop insurance and should receive refunds on products, chemicals and seeds that were unused and now unusable.

"There will be very few that don't have any (insurance)," said University of Minnesota applied economics professor Kent Olson.

"That certainly doesn't bring them up to the same gross revenue they would have had with a normal crop," he said, "but it does cover a fair bit."

For Lori Feltis, owner of Feltis Farm, it'll just mean protecting her farm until next year's harvest.

"We hope to break even," she said. "That means we worked all year, and we will not profit at all."

Brian Sorensen, owner of Waltham's Sorensen's Farms, said he thinks he's lost a minimum of a quarter of his income, and the effects of the missed planting will be felt for years.

"It's going to be long-term," Sorensen said. "It's going to affect the farming for a while until we get back to normal weather conditions."

The weather is a "trickle-down event" that will hit local economies hard, especially disturbing livestock production, feed mills, grain elevators and even consulting companies usually hired by farmers, Olson said.


Feltis said she's still worried about an early frost and disease, as well as the the price she'll pay for not making it to markets.

Sorensen said he's buckling down and hoping for the best.

"There's years like this along the way. This is just how it is … you just deal with it," Sorensen said. "We have hopes for what we have in."

Others simply don't want to have to live through this episode again any time soon.

"We're hoping it's a once-in-a-lifetime event," Twohey said.

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