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U of M Extension helps farmers manage in times of drought, floods, other challenges

Radio Transcript from Minnesota Farm Network, On the Farm radio show with Tom Rothman

ST. PAUL, Minn. (2/27/2012) —This is Bev Durgan on the Farm. Spring is always a nervous time for farmers. This year there is more tension than normal. I see that tension in the faces of farmers I talk to at Extension meetings and I see the reason for that tension in fields as I drive across the state.

Much of Minnesota had a dry fall followed by a warm winter with very little snow. Extension climatologist Mark Seeley says the drought threat posed by inadequate soil moisture in southern and western Minnesota is the most serious in over a decade. Some areas will need six to eight inches of precipitation in March and April to make up the difference. Seeley's historical records show there is only about a one in five chance of that happening.

University of Minnesota scientists like Mark Seeley have greatly increased our ability to understand climate and weather, but we still can not control the weather. A week of April showers across the state could wash away the worries about drought.

However, even if it does rain, high input costs and other factors will make the 2012 growing season a high-risk year. That's nothing new as farming has always been unpredictable.

There is one thing I can predict in this uncertain year. That is that University of Minnesota Extension will provide a fast track to research-based information to manage challenges from weather, markets or crop pests.

We can't make it rain, but research-based information can help you manage during tough conditions.

This is Bev Durgan on the Minnesota Farm Network.

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