ST. PAUL - In light of current drought conditions, Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson and Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman today issued a consumer alert encouraging Minnesota farmers to consider purchasing crop insurance ahead of this year's growing season.

Farmers must finalize a crop insurance plan with their insurance agent by today.

"If dry conditions persist in the weeks and months ahead, having proper crop insurance coverage could be crucial. We encourage all farmers to review their crop insurance needs this month," said Frederickson.

As spring planting season approaches, the threat of drought is real. According to the National Weather Service, more than 96 percent of Minnesota is currently facing moderate to severe drought conditions, and more than 99 percent of the state is facing "abnormally dry" conditions.

By comparison, one year ago this month only 4 percent of the state was facing abnormally dry conditions - in fact, farmers and communities across Minnesota were instead bracing for the possibility of severe flooding.

"Crop insurance is an important tool for managing that risk, and I encourage farmers to review their options carefully," said Frederickson.

Farmers with questions about crop and livestock insurance are encouraged to visit the Minnesota Department of Commerce website.