Statistics and anecdotes indicate the planting season in Lake County is off to a good start.

Spring rains are a mixed blessing. We need the moisture, but too much water prevents equipment from getting out into the fields. From what local farmers have told us, the moisture seems to be about right.

Remember we had a very wet fall locally last year, including flooding of some creeks. There were worries that heavy snowfall would saturate soils and prevent planting. But the winter snows melted at a modest pace and most fields are in good condition.

Statistically, about three-fourths of plantable acres in South Dakota had "adequate" topsoil and subsoil moisture, with about equal acres on each side being "short" and "surplus." Recognizing that the whole state can't be perfect, that report is about as good as possible.

Corn planting is well ahead of schedule, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, with about one-third of the corn planted already. Soybean planting is also ahead of schedule, with 11 percent in the ground. Spring wheat is at 60 percent.

Pasture conditions are rated somewhat differently, but also seem to be in good condition, with 97 percent rated either excellent, good or fair. Only three percent is listed as poor.

We're eager to grasp any good news for the economy as we can. Good planting conditions give us a little optimism about the season.

-- Jon M. Hunter