July 15 Hail Storm Damage

A farmer near Buffalo, N.D., tells me wheat yields in the are that was damaged by hail on July 15 are ranging between 5 and 15 bushels. Lots of corn and other crops were destroyed. Agweek will carry some special coverage of the storm damage in its Aug. 6 issue.

People have asked me if this is an unprecedented storm, with about 700,000 acres involved. I’d say it’s big, but in journalism we seldom refer to things as unprecedented. I’ve heard of some very big hail storms in the 1970s that ripped areas from Minot to south of Jamestown. Anybody remember those?

Among other things, the Buffalo area farmer wondered whether crop insurance companies should be allowed to prevent farmers from ripping up these crops before they remove additional nutrients from the soil — all for crops that won’t yield significantly anyway.

I’m sure that one depends on which side of this coin you’re living on, but it’s a good question.