GRAND FORKS -- A Walsh County farmer is dead after falling into a grain bin on the afternoon of Monday, June 15.

The farmer, who Walsh County Sheriff Ron Jurgens described as being in his early 50s, is not yet being identified pending notification of family.

Jurgens said the farmer entered the grain bin on his property about five miles southwest of Adams, N.D., shortly before 3 p.m. Monday, presumably to break up a crust that had formed on the top of the grain. After he fell, other farm workers called in the incident at 2:57 p.m., and first responders arrived on the scene at 3:05 p.m. After extricating the farmer from the bin, he was transported to First Care Health Care in Park River, where he was pronounced dead at 4:45 p.m.

Jurgens said this type of incident is becoming more common in Walsh County, a trend he believes is in large part due to the wetter-than-normal season.

"The crop itself was put in the bin at a wetter temperature, and that forms a crust on the top of the grain, so it's harder to get out," Jurgens said. "Sometimes, you must loosen that crust up to get the grain out, and, sometimes, farmers go inside the bin to do that and, without a harness or a harness that's not properly installed, people can become trapped inside the grain bin quickly."