MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Minnesota’s summer drought can be felt in the winters to come, as finding the perfect Christmas tree could be more difficult and costly.
Seventy-five percent of Minnesota is in the throes of a severe drought or worse right now, which has been difficult for local forest farms. Trent Johnson is the owner of B&J Evergreen in Clear Lake.
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“I hope everyone is doing a rain dance tonight,” Johnson said.
His farm consists of tens of thousands of trees, most of which are destined to end up in living rooms in December. He says the bigger ones that will be sold this Christmas are more resistant to adversity, including lack of water. Younger trees are more likely to struggle without water.
“A lot of growers have lost a large percentage of their trees in some pockets of the Midwest this year,” Johnson said. “In eight, ten years, it will be played out. “
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This is when Johnson says Christmas trees could become scarce and prices could rise. First, growers are focusing on the summer, according to Minnesota Department of Agriculture commissioner Thom Petersen.
“There is no doubt that the number one problem here at Farmfest is drought,” said Petersen. “The outlook for the rest of the month, unfortunately only the dry time of the year, is likely to get a bit worse if we don’t get timely rains.”
Johnson got creative on his farm by building a custom sprinkler that saves water. But he says a cooperative Mother Nature is always the best business partner.
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“I think I’ll be about three to four inches taller when that weight comes off my shoulder when we have this good rain,” Johnson said.