Expert weighs in on the ag impact of this week’s blizzard

As winter systems sweep through farm country, Eric Snodgrass from Nutrien Ag Solutions provides valuable insights into the weather’s impact on agriculture.

A powerful early-week blizzard is unleashing its fury across the Plains and Midwest, impacting over 30 states with a relentless onslaught of severe weather conditions. Fierce winds, heavy snowfall, flooding rain, and severe storms have prompted Blizzard warnings and winter weather alerts, leading to hazardous conditions and significant highway closures. Governor Laura Kelly’s declaration of a state of emergency in Kansas underscores the gravity of the situation, raising concerns about the potential impact on farmers and ranchers as the storm tightens its grip.

In a recent interview, Eric Snodgrass from Nutrien Ag Solutions shared his expert perspective on the unfolding weather systems. “We’ve got three of them lined up right now,” Snodgrass explained. “The first big one impacted parts of the Midwest, bringing super weather South yesterday, including some 3 to 5 inch rainfall events over the Mississippi Basin. It was accompanied by heavy snow on the backside, moving towards Canada. Another system is expected this weekend, followed by a third next Monday and Tuesday, venturing even farther South. These systems bring big snows, strong winds, and crucial moisture, which is exactly what we want to see.”

When questioned about the implications for agriculture, Snodgrass delved into the challenges arising from low subsurface soil moisture. “The biggest problem right now is that our subsurface soil moisture throughout the Mississippi Basin, the Ohio Basin part of the Missouri Basin is still quite low. The storm system is hitting mostly unfrozen soil, allowing us to soak in some much-needed water. The nastier the winter, the better we like the upcoming growing season. Let’s start replenishing this moisture now with these types of systems and then pray for the best once we get into spring and summer.”

As the storm unfolds, the agricultural community grapples with heightened challenges. Farmers and ranchers face risks to livestock, crops, and infrastructure due to severe weather conditions. The tightening storm raises concerns about transportation, supply chains, and overall farm operations. The coming days will be crucial in determining the extent of the impact and the resilience of the agricultural sector in the face of winter’s wrath.

A video from Kelly Ahart in Alcester, South Dakota, captures the stark reality of the blizzard’s impact. The footage showcases a massive snow drift surrounding their barn, providing a visual testament to the challenges faced by the ag community.

LATEST STORIES BY THIS AUTHOR:
USDA Meteorologists are raising alarms over low snowpacks in key Northwestern watersheds that may lead to water shortages and disrupt spring or summer planting.
As Texas cattle producers prod the possibility of expansion, USDA weather experts caution that recovery from long-term drought conditions will be a slow process.
What farmers need to know about the surge in land values driven by agricultural shifts and global demand for corn- and soy-based fuel.
The study’s findings have sent ripples of concern through communities reliant on the Colorado River for irrigation, highlighting the vulnerability of water resources in the face of climate variability.
Proposed revisions to the H-2A visa program, have stirred controversy among growers nationwide, including ag groups like the Northwest Horticultural Council.
Colorado conservation groups are upping the ante to protect the gray wolf, filing a lawsuit to re-list the species under the Endangered Species Act after the US Wildlife Service denied their initial petition.
USDA Chief Economist Seth Meyer Explains Expected Decline in Farmer Income for 2024
Bipartisan Effort Seeks to Sustain Conservation Efforts and Support Farmers through Renewal of Vital Programs
While the tentative agreement could offer permanent solutions beyond litigation, some expressed concern the five-year moratorium could further delay much-needed action.
Stakeholders are encouraged to submit comments by March 4, 2024, either online or by mail.
South Dakota legislators voted against a ban on weather modification experiments over sustainability concerns and hindrance on grain and ethanol production.
LSU AgCenter’s Craig Gautreaux ventures into the heart of northwest Louisiana to witness agriculture’s ongoing struggle with extreme drought conditions there.