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Governor Dayton declares A State of Peacetime Emergency in 35 Counties

June 26, 2014

This bean field west of Fulda was severely damaged by flood waters and by hail. Some of the plants that remain in the field are only stems.  
 FULDA FREE PRESS/Norma Dittman
FULDA FREE PRESS/Norma Dittman
This bean field west of Fulda was severely damaged by flood waters and by hail. Some of the plants that remain in the field are only stems.
In the Fulda area, farmers just west of Fulda have reported up to 15 inches of rain from the recent storms. In the Heron Lake area, three inches of rain was received on Saturday and three more on Monday.
After recent severe storms and flooding across Minnesota, Governor Mark Dayton issued an Executive Order on Thursday, June 19th, 2014, declaring a state of emergency in 35 Minnesota Counties. A number of counties in our area have been listed in the state of emergency declaration, including: Jackson, Lyon, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood and Rock. The other counties included The 35 counties are Beltrami, Blue Earth, Brown, Dodge, Faribault, Freeborn, Goodhue, Grant, Hubbard, Lake of the Woods, Le Sueur, Koochiching, McLeod, Morrison, Mower, Nicollet, Olmsted, Otter Tail, Ramsey, Renville, Rice, Roseau, St. Louis, Scott, Sibley, Steele, Todd and Waseca.

The State of Emergency declaration makes available a number of state resources to assist with cleanup and response efforts. These resources include on-site support and assistance to local governments in affected areas, as well as a determination for further emergency need.

Additionally, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety has fully activated the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) to help coordinate these efforts. The SEOC is traditionally activated when there is extensive damage over a large area of the state.

MNDot has created a web site with information on storm and flood-related road closures. You can visit that web site here: http://www.dot.state. mn.us/flood/

As stated within the State of Peacetime Emergency Executive Order “beginning June 11, 2014, persistent and continuing high precipitation, severe summer storms affected counties across the state causing flooding, road washouts, mudslides, and wind damage necessitating road closures and creating life safety issues.”

Governor Dayton’s Executive Order was signed within hours after intense rains, flooding and in some instances, severe hail, ravaged hundreds of acres of farmland in southern Minnesota.

Roads throughout the area were closed as flood water rolled across them causing washouts and the danger of vehicles being washed off of the roadways.

In the Fulda area, farmers just west of Fulda have reported up to 15 inches of rain from the recent storms. In the Heron Lake area, three inches of rain was received on Saturday and three more on Monday.

Brian Pelzel, Country Pride Cooperative, stated that he has been working in agronomy since 1976 and this is the worst year that he has ever seen for flooding and hail. “It is definitely a challenge. There are acres and acres of crops that are under water. That area west of town that got hailed out is a terrible mess. In some of the fields the corn is broken to the point it will not recover. There are bean fields that were planted and looking good that now look as though they were never planted. I was taking pictures of the damage, but it just got to the point that it was sickening to see it. The farmers have put so much work and money into those crops and there is nothing there.”

Pelzel said that workers at Country Pride Cooperative have been attempting to spray corn that was scheduled to be sprayed. “We can’t spray by ground because it is too wet. We got one-half inch of rain again last night by Heron Lake. We thought we were going to get to spray acres over that way today (Tuesday)by ground, but now they will be sprayed by air. It’s just too wet everywhere. And there is more rain and bad weather forecast for this week yet.”

Crop insurance adjusters are very busy assessing the damage from the storms, with some farmers reporting that they are on the calendar to meet with their adjusters two and three weeks out.

“Even if they do try to wait for the ground to dry so that they can replant, the farmers have no idea if they would get anything back out of it,” Pelzel said. “And the other thing about replanting at this point, if they can because of the ground water, there are corn fields that have been sprayed with certain sprays that beans will not tolerate, so if they would plant beans there, they would just die out.”

“It’s just a complete and total challenge. It’s just wet and wet. And there is nothing that we can do about changing that. It was June 24th last year when this area received 4.5 inches of rain and then we really didn’t get much of anything until now. For last two years in mid-June we have seen large amounts of rainfall. The flooding encompasses such a large area - miles and miles of it,” Pelzel commented. “The crops on the farms where there hasn’t been flooding and they didn’t receive hail are absolutely beautiful and that is a very good thing.”

The severe hail damage that Pelzel referenced stretched twenty-one miles long and fourteen miles wide from northeastern Rock County through northwestern Nobles County.

Although corn and soybeans can typically handle being underwater for up to 48 hours, most areas that flooded have been underwater for days. If the crop was not drowned out, it now is at risk of diseases that will stunt growth and lower yields.

Before the storms, corn in the area was 12 to 16 inches in height .



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