Whether with optimism or a kayak, farmers make due

Local News

HUTCHINSON COUNTY, S.D. (KELO) — Wet conditions and flooding are the two biggest ongoing stories in KELOLAND right now. Those who make a living off the land are facing challenges, and they’ll do whatever it takes to get the task at hand done. Patrick Hofer farms in Hutchinson County in southeast South Dakota, and last Friday he needed to cross a creek to get to some sick calves. A four-wheeler nearly became stuck. But they came up with another idea.

“Laura and I kind of thought, you know, we have a kayak, and we like kayaking, so why not just take it down the creek, and then we’ll just hop across and see what we can find,” Patrick Hofer said. “And sure enough, there was a sick calf on the other side, and ended up having to cross the creek a few times to get the medications I needed and get that calf treated.”

He and his wife Laura farm in the area, and flooding has had a dramatic impact.

“We haven’t turned a wheel on anything,” Patrick Hofer said. “So we haven’t planted a single soybean seed or a single corn seed.”

For example, he would be farming corn on this field if conditions were good.

“My biggest fear is am I going to get corn planted for silage,” Patrick Hofer said. “And secondly, what am I going to do for bedding? We historically have relied on cornstalk bales in the fall for our bedding, but if there’s no corn planted, how are we going to get the cornstalk bales?”

“Every day, the guys have to walk through mud. It looks like they’re trying to walk with two toddlers on each feet, and it wears on the mood of everyone, and you just kind of try to cheer them on to get through the day,” Laura Hofer said. “You see a lot of struggles, a lot of late-night dinners, a lot of skipped lunches just to get the work done that needs to be done.”

They’re far from alone with these problems.

“I’m one of very many farmers that are all dealing with problems of too much moisture,” Patrick Hofer said.

Still, Patrick and Laura are feeling optimistic.

“Things are drying up, so we’re getting more optimistic now,” Laura Hofer said. “We’re starting to get more things done.”

You can find current South Dakota farming statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture here

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