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Justin Haak (bottom) and his son, Shawn, stand in an ahead-of-schedule corn field north of Garfield on the Fourth of July. (Contributed)

Douglas County crops set up for good harvest

Justin Haak grew up watching his father farm. He's gotten away from the farming life as an adult, but he still has an eye for a good crop.

That's exactly what he's seen this year.

"To me, it seems like a particularly good year. The corn seems a lot taller and a lot healthier than I've seen it before," said Haak. "About the time of the state fair, it normally starts to dent (at the crown of each kernel). From what I've grabbed, and according to the height of the corn in the early growing stage, it's ahead of a normal schedule."

Crops in Douglas County are benefitting from favorable weather that hasn't caused much damage, Jason Martin said.

"We've had no bad storms," said Martin, a grain farmer who lives south of Evansville. "A lot of times, we can get a wind event or a hail event, something like that that can put pressure on our crops. And we haven't had too much rain. Those timely rains, it really helps in this area."

Martin further emphasized the importance of the good rainfall, which he said helped make a balanced crop.

"When we get these timely rains, we don't get too much at one time and drown out the low ground," he said. "We haven't had that either, so that brings out a very nice-looking crop."

However, Martin said the bugs have been widespread this year.

"Most people have had to spray a few extra passes between insecticide and fungicide to keep our crops looking good this year, too," he said.

Haak may not be rolling up his sleeves for the upcoming harvest time, but he has witnessed firsthand what's on deck for farmers.

"It was my dad's passion and he loved to do it," he said. "It takes a lot of time and patience. Farmers are definitely one of the hardest working people that I've ever met. It's not your normal 8-to-5 job."

Martin, on the other hand, will be busy at work in the harvest season. He's optimistic about what's in store, and said all signs point toward a very good crop.

"In 2016, we probably had our best-yielding crop we ever had," he said. "We're probably going to be right there, maybe a tish below that. We're going to have a record crop or very close to it around here."

Micah Friez

Micah Friez is a sports reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., he is a 2018 graduate of Bemidji State University with a degree in Creative and Professional Writing. Follow him on Twitter at @micahfriez for Lumberjack and Beaver updates.

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