Cody Kritzberger farming

Hillsboro-area farmer Cody Kritzberger watches from the cab of his combine as wheat is harvested about 3 miles southwest of Hillsboro Wednesday. 

Considering the severe drought conditions affecting much of North Dakota this year, Cody Kritzberger is thankful his wheat crops are as healthy as they are.

However, the Hillsboro farmer admits he may feel differently if the area remains dry through the soybean and corn harvest.

The 2021 small-grain harvest kicked off in earnest this week – one of the earlier starts to harvest in recent years – with growers seeing mixed results in their fields due to the dry, hot summer. 

“We need the rain, there’s no question,” Kritzberger said. “But I don’t think we’re to the point where we need to give up or lose hope.”

Nearly all of North Dakota is experiencing at least a severe drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

In central North Dakota, conditions range from extreme to exceptional drought – the highest category the monitor recognizes. 

Across the Red River, much of eastern Minnesota is also experiencing extreme drought. 

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