Hail Damages Crops in Miles City - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Hail Damages Crops in Miles City

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From terrible drought to damaging hail, local farmers can't catch a break from Mother Nature's wrath over the past two years.

Farmers like Jack Larson, who grows several hundred acres of barley east of Miles City. His fields were just days away from being harvested. Then earlier this month, the skies darkened, opened up, and destroyed his crop with golf ball sized hail.

"I'll tell you what. I've got prayers for a lot of our neighbors. And stuff here were hailed awful bad as well. The Kinsey community got battered real bad with this hail storm," said Larson.
There's no doubt it's been a rough couple of years for farmers in eastern Montana. Last year plagued by extensive drought and this year, plenty of hail damage.

Areas in and around Miles City have especially been hit hard by hail this spring and summer. It's been made even more unfortunate as farmers had a good crop otherwise with plentiful rain this spring.

"It's been a real mixed bag this year. We've seen a lot of people get some hail this year. Some people worse than others. Some people who have had two or three different storms come through," said Steve Lackman, who serves as the MSU Agricultural Extension agent for Yellowstone County.

But Larson is keeping his head high and knows that you have to roll with the punches to be a farmer out here.

"It's kind of tough sometimes to sit down and explain to your banker and the rest of the family that no, the vacation is going to be a little short or the payment is going to be a little short or whatever the case may be. So it's something that you live with on a daily basis when you're out here on these farms and ranches," said Larson.

Some crops have done well despite the hail. The MSU Agricultural Extension office for Yellowstone County said that hay has had a tremendous year. That's a good sign considering the crop was devastated by last year's drought conditions.