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PNS Daily Newscast - February 19, 2020 


President Trump commutes the prison sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Plus, warming expected to be hot topic at NV debate.

2020Talks - February 19, 2020 


Tonight's the Las Vegas debate, ahead of this weekend's Nevada caucuses. Some candidates are trying to regain the spotlight and others are trying to keep momentum.

Weather Leaves Frustrated ND Farmers in Holding Pattern

The brown squares on this satellite image indicate the areas of unharvested corn in an otherwise snowy North Dakota landscape. (NASA Earth Observatory)
The brown squares on this satellite image indicate the areas of unharvested corn in an otherwise snowy North Dakota landscape. (NASA Earth Observatory)
January 24, 2020

MAKOTI, N.D. - Many North Dakota farmers have yet to harvest all their 2019 crops, due to the wet fall and more snow over the winter. There's also concern about planting new crops this spring.

The state Department of Agriculture estimates that North Dakota farmers are still sitting on roughly two million acres of unharvested corn, with plenty of spring wheat and soybean in the ground as well. Farmer Tyler Stafslien of Makoti says after dealing with record amounts of rain last fall, farmers aren't feeling too good about what lies ahead, either.

"Besides the incredibly difficult harvest, we're now looking at moving into a springtime where our soils are very saturated," says Stafslien. "And any type of precip we get this winter is not welcome."

Last fall, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture approved a disaster declaration for farmers in 47 North Dakota counties impacted by an early-season blizzard and the wet fall. Industry observers say the problem is widespread - between the Dakotas, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, roughly seven million acres of corn are still unharvested.

While federal disaster aid has been granted, North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goering says farmers face another dilemma. If a farmer can't plant new crops because the old crops weren't harvested, they might lose out on insurance coverage.

"If they are ineligible for 'prevent plant,' they don't even get any type of payment, or can submit a claim on the acres that can't be planted," says Goering.

Goering describes the U.S. Department of Agriculture as sympathetic to the farmers' plight. At the state level, the governor's office has issued several proclamations this winter, waiving restrictions on hauling hay, livestock and propane to better help farmers and ranchers during the rough stretch.

Mike Moen, Public News Service - ND