ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A growing number of Minnesota farmers are relying on irrigation to ensure they can produce a crop when the weather turns dry.
So far this year, Minnesota Public Radio reports (http://bit.ly/17RuE10 ), farmers have applied for 466 irrigation permits. That’s more than twice the number in all of last year.
Jason Moeckel oversees the monitoring and analysis of water resources for the Department of Natural Resources. He says there’s not enough data to show whether irrigation is threatening groundwater supplies in some areas of Minnesota. But permit applications in just seven central counties — Stearns, Otter Tail, Pope, Morrison, Swift, Wadena and Kandiyohi — account for more than half of all of this year’s permits.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, about half of Minnesota is experiencing moderate to severe drought.