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Drought

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Farmer Jim Willers is one of many farmers in southwest Minnesota — and across the Midwest — holding out whatever hope is left that Mother Nature will bring some much needed rain to save his thirsty crops, the Worthington Daily Globe reports. Drought has not been this bad since 1988, he said. In one of his fields, he offered a guess that he’ll get about one-third of a crop.

The ongoing drought, combined with global economic turmoil, is hurting business in nine Midwest and Plains states and boosting worries about the possibility of another recession, according to a monthly report released Wednesday, the Associated Press reports.

The region's overall economic index for July plunged below growth neutral for the first time since 2008. The index hit 48.7, compared with 57.2 in June, the AP says.

The lack of rain is dropping Mississippi River levels, too, and barge shippers are worried. The drought is threatening to force barge lines to lighten cargos in Minnesota if it doesn't rain more soon, the Star Tribune reports.

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Related

Drought killing crops, lowering Mississippi

Minnesota farm fields might appear OK when you are speeding by them on the road, but look closer: the drought is taking its toll. Farmer Jim Willers plucked a soybean plant out of one of his fields south of Jasper and pointed to dried buds where green bean pods should be hanging. “It’s a pretty field, but there are no beans in it," he told the Worthington Daily Globe.

Rain coming, but drought not leaving

Temperatures will drop throughout the day Thursday, and Friday will be sunny and cooler – the Twin Cities will wake up to about 28 degrees. Then rain is likely throughout Saturday, local forecasters say. The parched metro could get the most significant rainfall it has had in two to three months, but that's not saying much – less than an inch is likely.

Minnesota on the verge of a drought

Climatologists say the state's gone six weeks without a substantial rain at a time when precipitation is key for crops, lawns and trees before the first hard freeze.

Drought creates September to remember

It sprinkled parts of Minnesota Monday, but this month could be among the driest Septembers ever. Meanwhile, frost will likely put an end to the growing season in northern parts of the state.

Minneapolis trees at risk due to ongoing drought

Officials say the metro area is in its eighth year of drought and even rain expected this week -- it won’t be enough to keep trees healthy. The city is asking residents to water the trees in their yards and on their block in order to prevent them from becoming vulnerable in the winter and dying off.

State's water resources strained amidst extreme drought

Drought conditions in the state are worsening, according to data from the U.S. Drought Monitor report release this week. More than 30 percent of the state is in extreme drought, up about 10 percent from last week. The DNR says drought conditions are straining the state's natural water resources.

Drought stifles crop expectations

Minnesota’s record dry season has area farmers worried about next year’s crops. MPR says if the drought conditions carry over into the spring, farmers won’t have enough moisture to water a normal amount of crops.