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Montana Ag Network: Hi-Line farmers affected by flooding

Posted at 7:33 PM, Apr 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-15 21:33:52-04

Some farmers in Montana aren’t able to get into their fields quite yet due to the amount of moisture in and on the ground.

Parts of the state have experienced record snowfall this year, causing headaches for some farmers.

“This is just not normal for us,” said Nick Welker, a farmer at Welker Farms.

As the snow starts to melt, the water is forced to go somewhere. His front yard is flooded.

“This is actually all gravel,” said Welker. “This is our driveway around here and there’s no water that runs through here. And there’s just been so much snowfall this winter and that snow is starting to move, it’s melting, but it’s never been to this scale.”

The saturated ground is preventing them from getting in their fields and with each new, significant snowfall, they’re forced to wait longer.

“Typically if there’s snow on the ground, you got at least a month probably,” said Welker. “We’re kind of thinking now, probably the middle of May.”

The farmers aren’t too worried, though.

“A month isn’t the end of the world for us, we’ve seeded in May too, but it’s definitely seeded later than we’ve seen.”

They already had seeds in the ground this time last year, but with 2017’s drought, it could be devastating for them.

“You know, if we don’t get our peas in in the middle of May, then it probably won’t be flowering until the end of June, beginning of July, so that could be, if it turns out like last year, it could be a wreck so we’re kind of like, we’re nervous.”

They remain optimistic though.

“If this is it, we should be able to start seeding in the next three to four weeks if the weather stays warm and everything.”

They will have to hold off until the ground dries a little more before they can plant spring wheat, yellow peas and chickpeas.

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