Friday 21 October 2011

Reduced North Dakota crop harvest expected to hurt economy

The  effects of  climate change

DICKINSON, N.D. (AP) — Reduced yields in some crops will hurt North Dakota's economy, officials said.

The U.S. Agriculture Department has reported that floods, hail, wind and early frost will mean farmers will harvest about half as much from some crops as they did last year.

North Dakota Farm Bureau President Eric Aasmundstad told the Dickinson Press he expects that reduced crop yields will cause drastic economic effects.

"With crop yields down pretty much across the board, it is going to mean tens — if not hundreds — of millions of dollars in lost revenue for the state of North Dakota," Aasmundstad said.

Not only will farmers see a drop in revenue, but the businesses that depend on farmers also will see a reduction in sales, he said.

North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said preliminary crop yield numbers indicate there will be a large impact on the state. Many farmers were lucky to get a crop planted due to wet conditions, and many who got their crops planted saw a below-average yield, he said.

"Many cases have been a little disappointing," Goehring said.

Randy Hondl, a farmer south of Dickinson, said his wheat yield was half that of past years.

"It's tough to see a year like this," he said.

Canola production is forecast to be down 43 percent from 2010, and dry edible beans are expected to be down 50 percent from last year, according to the Agriculture Department.

Darin Jantzi, director of the North Dakota National Agricultural Statistics Service, said those reductions will have a great impact on the nation.

"Whatever happens in North Dakota really affects the U.S. production because we are such a big player," Jantzi said.

Goehring said many analysts are skeptical of the exact figures for crop production, which makes it difficult to judge what the effect will be in the markets.

Jantzi said the USDA will re-evaluate its previous forecast for small grains, but a decline is expected. When information was collected in September, a lot of farmers had not yet harvested their crops, he said.

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