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Published September 12, 2011, 09:48 PM

Barnes County organic farmer struggling with water issues

Barnes County, ND (WDAY TV) - A third-generation Barnes County farmer is losing his land, and fast. A third of his fields has been taken over by water, and he doesn't know where to turn for help, but he's facing a unique problem most farmers aren't.

A third-generation Barnes County farmer is losing his land, and fast. A third of his fields has been taken over by water, and he doesn't know where to turn for help, but he's facing a unique problem most farmers aren't.

Jack Olson is at the Barnes County Water Resource District meeting, fighting for help controlling water on his flooded farm. His pride and joy.

Jack Olson – Organic Farmer: "When God says well you killed all these people with chemicals, it’s not my problem. I'm an organic farmer.

Olson's been growing all-natural flax, buckwheat, soybeans and more for 26 years near Litchville.

Olson: "I’ve lost 110 of my prime organic, and I only farm 350 so 110 means a lot to me. Big farmers with 3,000-4,000acres, what's that?"

Olson says his problems stem from this stony slew. He says water is rising, right onto his property."

Olson: "Why should I get, as an organic farmer, other people's chemicals?"

Water's backing up for many reasons. Cattails slow water movement, debris collects downstream, and US Fish and Wildlife is releasing water from land nearby.

Kurt Thompkins – US Fish and Wildlife: "There's not much that fish and wildlife service can do. We've done what we can on our properties, opening up the structures letting water flow.”

Jack Olson: "Well where's the water going to go? It just sits there and sits there."

Olson says it’s hard enough being an organic farmer, and wants to stop his war against water from getting worse. US Fish and Wildlife has hired an engineer to help find a solution. They will tell Olson the findings in the next few weeks.

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