Nationally, the value of farmland held steady over the past year at an average price of $4,090 per acre. More than half of the country saw an increase with Iowa rolling over $8,000 per acre and Minnesota moving past $4,800 per acre.

However, one of the last things on most producer’s minds is the value of the ground when what’s being grown on that patch of dirt is locked in a losing battle with Mother Nature.

John Torpy reports.

Drought continues to tighten its grip on parts of the U.S. as moistures keeps missing the Northern Plains and a heatwave takes aim at the Northwest.

According the U.S. Drought Monitor, sporadic showers across Montana and the Dakotas failed to quench thirsty fields as the drought continues to expand across northern portions of the nation’s bread basket. 

In North Dakota, nearly half of both Spring and Winter wheat crops were rated poor–to-very poor. The North Dakota Department of Agriculture has teamed up with North Dakota State University to accept hay donations to assist livestock producers. The donations will be distributed via a lottery organized by NDSU. With almost half of the Peace Garden State in varying degrees of extreme drought, Governor Burgum declared most of North Dakota a drought disaster area, clearing the way for state and federal assistance.

Parts of South Dakota fared better as locally heavy rains provided some drought relief. Eastern parts of the state received up to 12 inches of rain, moving some regions of extreme drought into the moderate category.

In neighboring Montana, drought related issues are two-fold. While little to no rain and high temperatures threaten the state’s wheat crop, the dangerous combo also has the potential to lengthen the wildfire season for the Treasure State.

According to the National Interagency Fire Center, the risk of wildfires for western states has the potential to remain high throughout the month of August, taxing already strained firefighting budgets.

Adding to wildfire worries, The National Weather Service has issued excessive heat warnings in the normally cool Pacific Northwest. Triple digit temperatures are expected to continue baking an area stretching from northern Washington State to northern California over the coming days.

For Market to Market, I’m John Torpy.