How local farmers are battling drought

BARNUM, MN – The summer has been increasingly difficult for farmers in northern Minnesota, due to the drought.

Shanda Hanson, of the Greater Downtown Council, said Thursday’s decision to cancel their downtown market was largely due to drought causing poor growing conditions.

“It was a difficult decision, but one that we had to make for both our suppliers and our participants,” said Hanson.

John Stoltz with Sprouted Earth Farms in Barnum sells his crops at the main location of Duluth Farmers Market at the intersection of 14th Ave East and 3rd St.

“It’s a bit at a tipping point now and if we don’t have rain soon, they’re just going to lose a lot of their crop, and yields are already suffering, that’s for sure,” Stoltz said.

While many farmers are struggling, Stoltz said his crops are doing well thanks to an irrigation system that delivers water directly to their roots.

“We made this a priority when we first set up, to make sure the irrigation is set up for everything so that if it ever becomes a problem, we are prepared for it,” Stoltz said.

Growing drought continues to weigh heavily on the minds of every farmer, regardless of plans, Stoltz says.

“Lack of water is a problem, but it just has a mental impact on people,” Stoltz said. “It’s a lot of stress worrying every day, I just wonder how long it will be before it rains.”

GDC hopes to have the downtown market again next year.

Duluth’s main farmer’s market is still open every Wednesday and Saturday through October.

You can find more information on the market here.

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