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Sunday's storm damages pepper crops in southern Minnesota

A Cannon Falls farm says its pepper crops are "mostly destroyed," while a local hot sauce company says it has lost 30-40% of the crop.

Storms that barreled across Minnesota Sunday night, which brought baseball-sized hail, 50-plus mph winds and lots of rain, seriously damaged some crops. 

The Sogn Valley Farm in Cannon Falls called the storm a "nightmare" in a Facebook post, saying the hail damaged crops right at the time of the first harvest of its main crop – peppers. 

About 3 acres of the farm's plants appear "mostly destroyed," the farm said, with photos posted to Facebook showing bell peppers with hail-sized holes in them.

"We know there’s risk involved when we choose to farm, but this pill’s a hard one to swallow. Thanks to our CSA members for being patient as we recover from this. Hoping we can still supply our hot sauce partners with some chiles this season, but it’ll be far less than we had planned on," the farm wrote on Facebook.

Cry Baby Craig's, a Minneapolis-based hot sauce company, which has gotten its peppers from farms in Cannon Falls, said it lost about 30-40% of its habanero crop and asked people who grow habaneros to reach out. 

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Farmers Union said it had gotten reports of crop damage from local farmers. 

Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Thom Peterson tweeted about the storms too, noting on Monday he was fixing debris on his farm in Pine City in between calls.

Farmers just can't catch a break. In July, a thunderstorm that produced hail caused significant crop damage in western Minnesota. According to AgFax, the storm devastated corn, soybean and sugarbeet crops.

WCCO said that storm, which had winds of 50 mph, damaged thousands of acres of crops, totaling millions of dollars worth of crop damage at a time when commodity prices are already down.

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Sunday's storm

Severe storms popped up in Minnesota Sunday night, producing tons of lightning and dumping upwards of 5 inches of rain in some areas

The more damaging part of the storm was the large hail – some as big as baseballs – and strong winds with gusts upwards of 50 mph in northwestern Minnesota, the National Weather Service says.

This map shows where the hail fell, and how big it was. 

According to the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the storm moved down the Missouri River, forming a derecho south of Minnesota that raced across the Midwest, knocking down trees, snapping utility poles, and covering the ground in hail.

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