While the pandemic and political upheaval dominated the major networks, Mother Nature delivered the top story of the year for the Red River Farm Network. Farmers and ranchers throughout the region faced extreme drought. The situation began in the fall of 2020, followed by a warmer-than-normal open winter and a very dry growing season. “I hear it everywhere I go,” said Kevin Waslaski, a farmer from Langdon, North Dakota. “People talk about how bad the crop looks and there is a lot of stress out there.” The stress went beyond crop production. The grass dried up and ranchers were forced to bring cows to town. In early June, Rugby Livestock moved more than 3,000 head through the auction barn in its weekly sale. In a normal year, the auction market would be on a bi-weekly summer schedule and receipts would be closer to 500 head. “It all has to do with the drought and the possibility of not having hay for the fall. A lot of cows are leaving the country. There is no grass and in some cases, there is no water; it’s gotten serious.”
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