b"Record Rain Brings Harvest Hardshipby Ted Kreis, NPPGA Marketing and Communications DirectorPotato growers in the Red River Valleyare facing some of the toughest harvestconditionsever.AsofOctober21st,only64percentofpotatoesinallofNorth Dakota had been harvested.Thatnumber is much lower in the immediateRed River Valley.Near Grand Forks, per-haps25percenthadbeenharvested.Thousands of acres of potatoes remainin the muddy ground after four weeks ofrelentless rain; 10 to 13 inches is not anexaggeration.OnOctober11thand12th, some of that precipitation came inthe form of heavy wet snow in a rare andpublicofficialsinFargo,Grand work and the repair or replacement ofOctober blizzard. As much as three feet ForksandJamestowntodiscussthe damaged road infrastructure. The previ-fell near the Canadian border in North region'sflooding.Shortlybeforethe ousweek,NorthDakotaSenatorJohnDakota. visit, Gov. Burgum signed an executive HoevenquestionedtheDeputyorder declaring a statewide flood emer- Secretary of Agriculture Steve Censky ifDryingfieldsthistimeofyeartakes gency, paving the way for requests for USDAhastheresourcesnecessarytotime; days are shorter and temperatures federalassistancetohelpNorth assistproducers,particularlyintheare cooler.The drying process is slowed Dakotans deal with disaster.WHIP+program.Censkyassuredthefurtherbyditchesandsmallstreams Senatorthattheyareworkingcloselythat are filled to capacity.Those streams Theresaneconomichardshipthat withtheFSAtoassessdamageinourdump into a swollen Red River thats at werefacinghererelativetothisfalls area.its highest recorded level ever in the fall. harvestthatislikelyunprecedented,Forexample,theRedRiveratOslo, Burgum said. We have a whole team of This is a challenging time for many ofMinnesotatoppedoutat36.4feet, people across the state who will be acti- ouragriculturalproducersacrosstheunderitsall-timerecordhighspring vatedaspartofourwhole-of-govern- state, Goehring said. We want to do asflood. ment approach. much as we can to help assess what thelossesanddamagesareoutthereandNotjustpotatoesareaffected. The group came to the area to gather what the next steps will be.Thousandsofacresofsugarbeetsand information for possible requests for asoybeansandothercropsarealsoin USDAsecretarialdisasterdesignation NPPGA President Donavon Johnson hasdanger of being lost.It is a critical time and a presidential disaster declaration. A beenworkingwiththeRMA,Northfor farmers in the region that have been USDAsecretarialdisasterdesignation DakotaandMinnesotacongressionalalready battered by trade wars and low wouldunlockfinancialassistance delegations,stateofficialsalongwithcommodity prices. throughtheWildfireandHurricane the National Potato Council to empha-IndemnityPlusProgram,orWHIP+. sizetheneedtofindwaystoextendOnOctober21st,NorthDakota Paymentsfromtheprogramtakeinto crop insurance coverages and find otherGovernorDougBurgum,Ag accountaproducerscropinsurance programs to assist our growers.JohnsonCommissionerDougGoehringand coverage and the size of the loss. A pres- said, We know this is a critical time forotherstateofficialstraveledtothe identialdisasterdeclarationwould our growers, we are doing everything weregion to meet with concerned citizens include public assistance for emergency can to assist in this difficult time.4 POTATO GROWER NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019"