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WDAY: The News Leader

Published July 01, 2013, 05:12 PM

60 on 6: 25 years ago the valley has an unbearable drought

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV)-- It is hard to imagine a lack of water, knowing the heavy rains and flooding we have witnessed the last few weeks.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV)-- It is hard to imagine a lack of water, knowing the heavy rains and flooding we have witnessed the last few weeks.

But tonight, as WDAY 6 News marks its 60-th year we are taking a look back at stories that left a mark.

25-years ago, farmers and everyone here in the valley suffered through an unbearable summer.

Sun and heat that scorched our earth and cost farmers their livelihood.

One of the most memorable shots of 1988, a farmer pouring powder dry top soil, it looked more like sand.

"You can barely find any moisture."

Across the Red River Valley 1988, we saw an exodus of farmers are drought conditions reached historic proportions. Some farmers with grain fields and pastures fried to a crisp had to sell off their prized herds of dairy cattle.

"You feel like crying sometimes. You feel awful bad. I think an awful lot of those cows."

North Dakota and Minnesota Governors Sinner and Perpich called for an emergency drought meeting in Chicago.

"We must avoid the elimination of another whole tier of farmers."

The country's Ag Secretary flew into Fargo to see firsthand the emergency. The national press covered the issue, traveling to area churches to document the crisis.

"Drought and this lack of rain, and the dreary outlook is putting an extra burden on all of you."

The drought impacted everyone. From implement dealers, to main street variety stores. Food prices jumped. The only one making it the ice cube man. Even counselors saw the crisis unfold before them.

"We're seeing a lot of people saying where do we go, what do we do. That's a crisis."

Millions of dollars dried up with the drought the summer of 88. Producers forced to leave the farm, leaving one generation in the dust.

Next Monday, a look at the teacher's strike in Moorhead that paralyzed and split the community.

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