Author Archives: Ben Ray

Farmers Respond To Historic Drought

Many people think of North Dakota as a quiet, desolate, one of the flattest states in America. In reality there is a much deeper love for the natural beauty of the state ranging from it’s great plains to the wildlife and everything in between.

North Dakota is in the upper half of the US in terms of Agricultural Production. The 21st overall state contributes to 2% of the United States agricultural production. The estimated 26,000 person workforce has had it’s livelihood tested in the recent year due to the pandemic, and a historic drought.

August of 2020 was the last time a North Dakota farmer had seen consistent rain. Logan Lund, a farmer in Tonla, North Dakota and University of Jamestown Alum has been working with his father for the past three years. “It was a big turn of events” Lund said, “Last August we started taking precautions to preserve water”.

The drought in North Dakota is of one of historic proportions, these conditions have not been faced since the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s. Lund has been working the field with his father as long as he can remember, they have developed a great relationship with farmers whose property they border along with friends in the industry. “ We got lucky… but some of our best friends are dealing with a third of the crop that they normally had”.

Dealing with that reality is something that may impact more and more farmers as the climate continues to change. Lund says he doesn’t have time to worry about things that are far ahead in the future. Working a 3000 acre farm is difficult as is, so thinking about the climate is something that Lund says that the climate is always in the back of his mind. 

For many farmers dealing with the drought hasn’t been easy. Many farmers had “2 feet tall corn crops that were selling at 60-70 a bushel”. These farmers can have no control over the environmental conditions but have to deal with the consequences. North Dakota has one of the most brutal winters in America in regards to temperature and snowfall. But with the climate changing and creating much more severe storms creates a different type of challenge for these farmers.

Farmers are now implementing technology into their equipment and machinery to improve the farming process and grow better crops. Lund uses an Ipad in his combine to find which plot of land is producing a better crop and notifying which crop is ready to be harvested. Many farmers alike in the state use similar techniques especially with the impact of severe storms becoming more common. 

We also got the chance to speak with Dr. Adnan Akyüz, a climatologist and professor at North Dakota State University. Dr. Adnan has studied and worked in the climatology world for over thirty years, the bulk of that time being spent in the Midwest. When asked about this drought and how long it may last he said, “It’s too difficult to tell, sometimes the drought starts and tapers off in the fall, with no rainfall, so it could continue to 2022”.  One statistic that was given stated 77 percent of the state is still in a drought,  and 45 percent being under a severe drought. Given the severity of this drought and how widespread it is, the end of it isn’t easy to predict.

This is a problem that started back in 2020 and the state hasn’t been able to recover since. Unfortunately it is not a stand still either, not only is it not getting better but it’s getting worse.  This was the droughts maximum intensity in 2021,“On May 25 the percent coverage for D4 reached 17 percent and that marks the largest extent of exceptional drought on record”. Twenty weeks of a D4 category drought is the most intense that a drought can get. Farmers on the Eastern side of the state were lucky to see rainfall because  the western portion of the state received almost no rain at all.

Ever since a historically dry winter in 2020 it was clear this drought wasn’t slowing down. Farmers and those that work around and with them had to start taking precautions so their land wouldn’t go to waste. It’s been rough but there is a bright side.

The bright side is that in the central and eastern part of the state the recent rainfall has really helped, even though we’re still feeling the effects of the drought. The state isn’t ignoring this problem either, says Dr. Akyüz, “the state is sensitive to provide certain programs for the farmers to mitigate the impact of the damage and fortunately most farmers took advantage of these programs”.  Given the revenue and employment that farming provides in North Dakota, there should be no shortage of work done to help. We can’t force nature to put water where we want it but we can’t let it ruin the farms and lives of those who depend on it.

Pictured Corn grown in a drought plot (Left) Corn Grown in a non drought affected plot(Right)

Skills & Drills Camp

The UJ Campus Ministry recently held  a skills and drills camp on November 14th for the Jamestown community. The camp was available for a variety of age groups including 4 & 5 year olds 1-2:30pm, as well as 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders 3-4:30pm finishing up with 4th,5th, and 6th grade from 5-630pm. The Skills and Drills Camp is one of many ways that the University of Jamestown uses to better connect with the community. Not only does it give college students the chance to lead, but it also is a time for the youth in the community to learn new things. Some may have been discouraged by the $15 price tag for the camp, however it helps knowing that the proceeds will be donated to charity. This camp and future events similar to this are ways that Jimmies can come together to bring good to the community. An event like this that allows student athletes to participate and engage with the community, allows for each student athlete to get work experience. For those that want to be in leadership roles and coach in the future this was a perfect event to help gain experience. As a school we would like to thank everyone that was involved with the camp as they did a fantastic job. If you weren’t able to make it to the skills and drills camp and want to be involved with events like this in the future. Please make sure to get in contact with the Campus Ministry department. Kirstie Dobson is the Director of Campus Ministry and Pastoral Care Coordinator.

Womens Volleyball Set to Make Another Run at a National Championship

The University of Jamestown Women’s Volleyball team is poised for a huge season after finding massive success in last year’s regular season and playoffs but ended up falling short in the Final Four losing to Midland in five sets. The 2021 team has many new faces, but also only graduated two seniors from last year so the continuity is still there for the Jimmies. Last season there was only 1 loss on the Jimmie ledger and it was in straight sets to University of Northwestern- St. Paul. It let the rest of the NAIA Volleyball world know this Jimmies team could be defeated. 

This season is no different, the Jimmies are undefeated led by Kali Hagerle who last year came off one of her best seasons as she was selected to the First team all GPAC outside hitter and captain of the squad.  

This fall in GPAC play the Jimmies will face the team that denied them their national championship hopes last season in the Midland Warriors who the Jimmies never lost to last season in GPAC play and look to continue that success this year. 

In the opening coaches poll for women’s volleyball the Jimmies received the No. 2 overall ranking in the country. When polls come out often times young inexperienced teams shudder and struggle with that pressure, not this team.The Jimmies have played exceptional volleyball posting an 11-0 record and 2-0 in conference. It has been utter domination for the Jimmies, out of the first eleven matches so far only one has gone to an additional set, and that was against the No. 8 team in the nation Northwestern and the Jimmies won that match in five sets winning the 5th set 15-12. 

The Jimmies are finally playing a home match this week as they take on another tough opponent in the Dordt Defenders who are coming into this match No. 5 in the country. The Jimmie women look to dominate the GPAC this season and continue their win streak.