South Dakota Farmers Optimistic About Commodity Prices

LAKE PRESTON, S.D. (AP) — Farmers in South Dakota says there's a reason for optimism as they head out to their fields to plant crops this spring.

Commodity markets are up 62% over the 10-year average.

Wayne Soren raises crops and cattle near Lake Preston.

“This is probably one of the most exciting seasons to begin in, in quite some time because the prices of crops are so high,” Soren tells South Dakota Public Broadcasting.

Although he’s optimistic as he drives his planter into his corn field, the third-generation farmer also has concerns, mainly about dry conditions.

“That’s one of the dark clouds that sits above. Are we going to get enough rain to grow a crop this year? ” Soren says.

Soren is not alone in his concern. According to U.S. Drought Monitor data, 71% of South Dakota was in drought conditions at the end of April.

But recent rain provided some relief.

“We got a large rain. Probably the biggest rain we’ve had in two years. Dams are completely full over the last three days. Yeah, we’re pretty much at max for soil moisture at the moment. I would say we got almost four inches… I was cautiously optimistic last time and I am wholly optimistic at the moment,” said Kimball farmer Adam Schindler.

Following the late-April rainstorms, the May 5th U.S. Drought Monitor data shows 69% of the state remains in drought conditions.