Farmers Hurt by Heavy Rains

Farmers Hurt by Heavy Rains
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What looks like a typical field of corn, is actually a major disappointment, thanks to rain.

“In the 39 years I’ve farmed [this season is] probably one of the worst, wettest springs and summers I’ve ever seen,” said Russell Johnson, owner of Johnson Farm.

An example of too much of a good thing, Missouri’s rain season not only caused 68 counties to be declared disaster areas, but also caused many farmers, including Johnson, to declare the year’s harvest a disaster.

“You plant mostly by feel when it’s like this. and it didn’t feel very good the longer you went.”

Corn had to be planted late, causing issues with rooting and the soil’s nitrogen level. Soybeans had to be re-planted multiple times late into the season. The rain even caused wheat to become diseased.

“[Excessive rains] caused a fungus disease to come into the wheat, so the wheat didn’t yield as well,” Pat Miller of the Vernon Co. Univ. of Missouri Extension said. “And then there’s been some quality problems with the wheat too.”

Russell’s son, Rusty Johnson, sells and installs water management equipment for farmers. He says even with perfect infrastructure, this season would have been a struggle.

“At that point you’re hitting rain event’s that no area is gonna be equipped with,” Rusty said. “Cause you don’t want to design for that 50-year event that you see once every 50 years.”

Russell says most consumers won’t feel the effects of the lackluster harvest. It’s Missouri businesses and farmers that will be hit hardest.

“Cause the retail value of food isn’t what the farmer gets out of it,” Russell said. “Most people farmed long enough they’ve just dealt with it probably in one level or another in the past before and they just move ahead. Do what you can do and move ahead.”

Wheat is inspected and processed before sale, so the public shouldn’t worry about getting sick from local food.

Farmers are being advised to not save their seed from this season.