Local agriculture is taking a double hit this season from trade wars to an inability to plant in soil that's too wet and preventing roots from taking hold or fields that are actually flooded. Towards the end of last month the issues with wet whether were already causing planting delays. From WCCU April 29th:
"We haven't been able to plant or do anything as far as cropping too much," farmer Joe Burke said.Full article with video segment here.
Burke said this has been the longest stretch of rain he's ever dealt with.
"Like you can see in the low ground out there, how it's dark, that means it's wet," he said. "Started wet in the fall, it was wet all winter pretty much and it's been wet this spring."
He grows corn and soybeans on his Thomasboro 1,100-acre farm and he understands part of being a farmer is having patience...
Burke said right now he's staying afloat by selling older crops. But, he couldn't put a dollar amount on how much each passing day is costing him...
"It's scary because they don't know when they're going to get things in, so they don't know when things are going to come out," said Rey Dalitto, Farmers Market & Food Access Manager.
"I've had farmer after farmer after farmer tell me that they've never seen anything like this," Dalitto said.
WILL's the 21st show had an audio segment and interviews with an area farmer and other experts. Synopsis:
It’s been a cold and wet spring here in Illinois, one of the wettest in 124 years, according to the state climatologists office. Spring showers are a nuisance for most of us, but too much rain can be disastrous for farmers who aren’t able to get their seeds in the ground. To make things worse, the trade war with China continues to heat up. How are farmers coping? We thought we would check in with a few folks who’ve been following this closely, including Steve Fourez. He farms about 500 acres of corn and soy in Vermillion County in East Central Illinois. Madelyn Beck is a reporter for Harvest Public Media. Scott Irwin is the Laurence J. Norton Chair of Agricultural Marketing in the college of ACES at the University of Illinois.Full audio segment here, includes the show intro and roughly 16 minutes long. It goes into a lot of details about the historic nature of the amount of rainfall and how it compares to previous growing seasons where crops would have already been planted by now. For those who planted early there's a chance that some sections may need to be replanted later depending on if any areas get over-saturated, pooling, etc. They also discuss the previous expectations of the trade war agreements falling through and its devastating effect on soybean prices, even before the weather problems. Another guest pointed to the recent rainfall and called it a "Black Swan event" and had a 7 day rainfall forecast map illustrating the problem:
here. For more information on the trade war situation, the News-Gazette also had coverage of the status a couple weeks ago here. Harvest Public Media had a helpful overview of the trade situation today here:
Collateral damage is exactly what many U.S. farmers feel like right now, even as the Trump administration has promised a second bailout, this time worth $20 billion. That will help some, but many farmers say a trade resolution that reopens the Chinese market is what they really want.More at the full article here.
“We were willing to take one for the team, if it was going to be a long-term goal,” said Ronnie Russell, vice president of the Missouri Soybean Association. “But the truth of the matter is now, are we going to be able to still survive in the short term so we can be here to take advantage and enjoy that long-term goal?”
And while those who don’t farm may ask why farmers just don’t grow something else, it’s not an easy pivot — especially when it comes to grains like wheat, corn and soybeans. Farmers, like Friest in Iowa, invest thousands in land, equipment and technology.
“Our soils adapt very well to growing corn, they grown soybeans. We have the markets for them and we have the machinery set up for it,” he said.