MEADOWLANDS, MN– Failing ditches are becoming a common scene in the Meadowlands-area.
“The clock is ticking and each year it’s getting worse and worse,” said farmer Ed Nelson.
Several Meadowlands-area farmers are experiencing flooded land because of failing drainage ditches built in the early 1900s.
“The grass grows, trees grow brush grow and the silt slowly sediments to the bottom of the ditch,” said farmer Tom Horvath.
“This is one of the fields that’s getting really bad. As you can see the ditches just don’t drain. The levels stay real high,” he said.
Hay Farmers aren’t looking to build new ditches, they just want the old ones cleaned.
The ditches haven’t been cleaned since the 90s.
“Anytime you neglect your infrastructure it doesn’t cost less it costs more,” said Nelson.
The flooding is impacting crop production.
“You watch it and it looks nice and it’s growing and everything, and then you start getting rains and the water starts coming up and then you just watch it disappear before your eyes,” said Horvath.
And even crop selling.
“I’ve told Tom, I said, ‘when you quit, I have to quit because I just can’t find hay. I can’t afford to truck it in from far away places. So I’ve been supporting his business and he’s been keeping me in business,” said Nelson.
Come next Tuesday, farmers are going to the St. Louis County Commissioners to voice their concerns.
“Ditches aren’t cheap. Our hope is to convince them that this farmland needs to be saved,” said Nelson.
The Arrowhead Regional Farm Bureau, which represents Itasca, Cook, Lake and St. Louis County will assist the farmers and the board in finding a solution.
“It’s 100 years old and it’s been advocating on behalf of farmers for all those years,” said Nelson.
Because if no solution is reached,
“I have two grandsons that I know want to get into it and they won’t be able to. We will lose it,” said Horvath.
The future of farming in this area could soon be non-existent.
“We want to keep people out on the land. What happens is everybody moves away? We need farmers.” said Nelson.
After Tuesday’s meeting, Nelson said they’ll invite the commissioners to come to see the flooded fields in person.