This year’s drought in North Dakota has been rough. One family lost their entire Indian corn field as well as 10 acres of sweetcorn.
With 91% of the state in severe drought, local farmers have been struggling to remain hopeful. The Graner family farms south of Mandan along highway 1806 and have struggled with the lack of rain that’s affected all their crops and small grains.
The owners, Mary and Kenny Graner, say their irrigation system has been the saving grace this year. Mary shows the differences in the irrigated fields compared to fields that didn’t get as much water. The corn that didn’t receive any irrigation did not even grow cobbs.
“Here is where we have our irrigation. So this dry part is where the water didn’t reach so this is a very good example of what the lack of moisture has done to the crops out here,” says Mary.
It’s easy to see why they may have been disappointed. Kenny Graner says they just need rain.
“The whole problem with the lack of rainfall is you end up with less forages for the livestock or less commodities to sell. What can we do to change that? You can’t change mother nature,” says Kenny Graner.
The lack of rain and record number of days with extreme heat puts crops under stress and pushes them to maturity faster. Kenny holds up a piece of corn from the irrigated side to show what they’d usually expect.
“This is what a farmer shoots for when it comes to corn and real crops. On the other side there what you say its not going to happen,” says Kenny Graner.
Mary has sold sweet corn for 15 years and with 4 kids in college, losing entire fields have been an extreme burden.
“It helps us because it’s a little bit of a cash crop. We have it under irrigation so we’re guaranteed a good crop unless it hails. It’ll take care of grocery money and that sort of stuff,” says Mary Graner.
Mary says her loyal customers are what keeps her going when things get rough.
“We never realize how much we help local farmers by buying from farmer’s markets instead of the supermarket. Local farmers need our support!” says Mary Graner.
“There’s a lot of producers getting involved with bringing consumers fresh product instead of product that has been processed and shipped into the state of North Dakota or Bismarck and Mandan,” says Kenny Graner.