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DROUGHT

Aric Putnam was elected to his second term in the Minnesota Senate in the November general election, which saw the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party flip enough Senate seats from red to blue that the party now controls both houses of the Legislature and saw Gov. Tim Walz win a second term. Putnam will chair the Senate Agriculture Committee
Cow-calf producers had plenty of time to bring cattle from summer pastures, to shelter around farmsteads and to fenced corn stubble fields for late grazing prior to winter. Northeast South Dakota farmer Wally Knock said he has plenty of feed despite a dry late summer.
"One of the old things we used to say is the lake is not a bathtub, it doesn't just lay at one level," said Pete Boulay, a climatologist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. "What I always point out, when people complain that (water levels) have never been this low, just go back farther and you'll find lower water than you have right now."
"Excess rainfall" this spring has reversed the severe drought the north saw last year, and it's unlikely there will be a drought in the region for the foreseeable future, according to a climate outlook report.
"Growing Together" columnist Don Kinzler spends time with North Dakota’s Cass County Soil Conservation District, which is tasked with planting tree windbreaks and establishing conservation measures throughout the county.
"Fielding Questions" columnist Don Kinzler also answers questions about spraying newly seeded grass and dealing with quackgrass in raspberries.

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Quaal Dairy in Otter Tail County sold off most of its herd in April. Vernon Quaal says the 2021 drought drastically cut into its feed supply and the rising prices for feed made maintaining the 300 cow herd unstainable. Quaal says many dairies are suffering. But he is determined to build back up, with a crop of bred heifers ready to calve in September.
"Growing Together" columnist Don Kinzler says the generous spring moisture has helped, but some lawn damage from 2021 could still be present as the summer begins.
A series of storms brought around 4 feet of snow to some parts of the region. While the storm and its aftermath continue to stress ranchers and cattle, there is optimism that it spells the beginning of the end of a dry cycle.

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