Southern Minn. farmers deal with impact of heavy rains

6:38 PM, May 20, 2013   |    comments
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STEWARTVILLE, Minn. - As Minnesota continues to get more and more rain, many Minnesota farmers are worried about the effects of too much moisture on their livelihood.

On 300 acres of southeast Minnesota farmland, Rich Cerise watches his hopes for a normal growing season nearly wash away.

"It went from a dead calm outside to all of a sudden you couldn't see probably two feet out from the windows in the house," says Cerise about the storm that blew through Stewartville on Sunday.

Cerise says he wasn't too concerned about the dozens of trees the wind took down.

The bigger issue was the canals of water where corn and beans should be planted by now.

"Every time it gets ready to leave, we get another dose of rain," he said.

Precipitation in this area is already above normal. The drought was gone nearly overnight. Some six inches of rain since Friday and a snowstorm earlier this month have made the situation worse.

"That snow sat there, melted, every bit of it went down in the ground and here we are," says Cerise.

Rich and other farmers are at least two weeks behind for planting and he doesn't expect he'll be able to even turn the soil until the end of the month.

This is the reality of farm life, which can be controlled first by too little water and now, by too much.

"Being a farmer, you kind of learn to live with it, roll with the punches. It happens."

In Spring Valley, Sunday's storm also left a mess for business owners, where water ran through the street like a river dumping three to four feet in many basements.

"If we didn't have the sandbags, it would have been in the bar and we would have had even more mess," says business owner Ryan Welp.

Spring Valley is right in the middle of a flood plain. Three to four inches of rain fell in a matter of minutes Sunday. And with more rain the forecast, it could take some time to dry out.

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