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Published March 28, 2012, 09:39 PM

Mild Winter a Mixed Bag for Farmers

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - The mild winter months we experienced in the region are both good and bad news for area farmers. It looks to be the earliest spring on record for North Dakota farmers, but not all farmers say this is a good thing.

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - The mild winter months we experienced in the region are both good and bad news for area farmers. It looks to be the earliest spring on record for North Dakota farmers, but not all farmers say this is a good thing.

The mild winter means the ground is already frost-free. But the lack of moisture has some farmers concerned.

"We're supposed to be snow-mobiling this time of year, not farming!" Barnesville, MN, farmer Ivan Nelson said.

But that isn't the case this year. Farmers are already out in the field, though some like Nelson admit they're not quite ready to plant.

"You don't pull up any moisture whatsoever. Dirt lumps left over from last year that didn't even break up over winter, so we could be seeding right now but we're holding off," Nelson said.

But a Bismark-area farmer is seeing things a little differently.

"Definitely get in earlier. We're doing a little field work now, but there's a few people seeding in our area already, so we'll definitely get started earlier," farmer Stanley Boehm said.

Recent moisture in that area has made Boehm a little more optimistic about the upcoming season.

"Looks pretty good. It's got some moisture now, so we're feeling pretty good about spring," Boehm saidk.

But that optimism hasn't spread east to Barnesville.

"Just depends on if we get the rains. If we get the rains, it'll be a great season. But if it doesn't, put it this way, I increased my crop insurance because I just, it looks bleak to me at this time of year," Nelson said.

According to a survey of county extension agents, April 2 is the average starting date for field work throughout North Dakota, which is the earliest since since 1974 when they started keeping a record.

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