FISHER, Minn. — Hundreds of farmers gathered in the northern Red River Valley Thursday, Oct. 17, hoping their prayers of being able to get back into their fields are answered.
With harvest on hold, farmers packed Fisher Lutheran Church to pray that their fields will dry and that they can finish their work before it's too late.
David Thompson, a farmer from near East Grand Forks, said that after recent heavy rain and snow all he can do is look at the soybeans he can't get to. His entire 800 acres of soybeans have not been touched and less than a third of his sugar beets have been pulled from the ground.
Usually by this time of the year the tractors are parked for the season. Now they are parked because they can't go out in the fields.
"This is unprecedented, uncharted waters," Thompson said. "We have to keep going with it but the "when" is the issue."
Dozens packed into the small Polk County church Thursday after Bishop Bill Tesch from the Northwest Minnesota Synod declared it a day of prayer for farmers. About a dozen other churches held similar prayer services across the region.
"Our neighbors are facing a perfect storm of low prices (and) high costs," Tesch said. "Now this weather is threatening the harvest."
Curt Knutson, the chairman of the board for the American Crystal Sugar Company, was also in attendance. He said that while only a third of the crop has been harvested, he is optimistic that the beet harvest will be close to expectations and pointed out the harvest has gone into December before.
"It will take longer than normal, but we will get them all in," Knutson said.
Despite his reassurances, farmers say all they can do is pray that they can get back into their fields.
With more rain and snow in the forecast, Thompson admits there's little else they can do.
"It's all dependent on Mother Nature and the man upstairs," he said.