September 07, 2005

What about the farmers?

On my drive to work every day I drive past cornfields. Every day I notice how short and sickly it looks compared to years past. The ears that have managed to form are small and under developed. The drought we are in is really taking a toll on the local agricultural industry. Some of the local media has run stories and interviewed multiple farmers regarding the status of the crop.

One of the farmers stated that the quality of the corn isn’t even good for silage and that he wasn’t sure if it was worth harvesting it from the field, with the price of gas being as high as it is. I knew it was bad, but not that bad. I figured they could at least use the corn for feed. I tried to find a link to this story; unfortunately, I was not able to find one. For you folks out there that don’t know what silage is, it’s fodder from plants converted into feed for livestock through a fermentation process in a silo. The farmers use this to supplement their livestock feed, especially in the winter months.

When the local farmers feel that it might be better off for them to let the crop rot in the field because they would go further in to debt just to harvest it, you know it’s got to be bad. They usually get some kind of return on it, but in the interview that I saw the farmer said in not so many words that harvesting this corn would be as smart as throwing money into a furnace. Even if they used the entire crop just as feed, at least they received something for it. Instead, they may have to purchase extra feed just to keep their livestock fed over the winter. Farmers make a living off their crops and livestock. If it isn’t worth it for them to pull the crops out of the field, what will they do? How are they going to pay their bills or provide for their families?

If the drought broke today and we received a good steady rain for the rest of the year, it’s too late to save this year’s corn crop. Maybe it isn’t as bad as that one report made it out to be, but looking at the cornfields I can’t help but to think it is. Growing up in Illinois and spending times on farms, I know what good healthy corn looks like. The corn crop in Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin cannot be described as “good or healthy”. Even the sweet corn you get at roadside stands and in stores are some of the sorriest I’ve seen in years.

Since I haven’t seen a lot on this issue, maybe I’m in the minority that is concerned about it. With harvest coming just around the corner I suspect we all will start to hear more regarding this issue, then again maybe not. It seems that unless something happens to a large urban area, the national media doesn’t cover it. For now, I’m just going to hope that the farmers in this part of the country fair better then I think they will.

Posted by Contagion in Rants and Raves at September 7, 2005 04:40 PM | TrackBack

I've been worried about that myself. My family is mostly farmers (past and present) and they were talking about it Sunday. My cousin is a big popcorn farmer and he's worried about losing the farm.

It's very sad. Very very sad.

Posted by: Tammi at September 7, 2005 06:20 PM

The corn crops down in the west central and southern parts of Illinois haev fared no better. A few farmers down here cut their crop at the ground last month! Since the price of feul increases this month I have seen not a single piece of equipment in the fields. Coming from an area where, detassling corn, and walking the beans is a staple for teenage income, none of this happened this year. Most of the fields down here are destined to sit all winter long, unless the feul cost come way down or the farmers get so desperate they have to cut it. The beans are not faring much better. They look better than the corn but the articles and interviews I have seen show very few beans per plant.

Posted by: chemicalnova at September 7, 2005 06:22 PM

I'm glad I'm not the only one concerned about this, for a couple of weeks now I felt I was the only one that not only noticed, but cared about it. This is going to have a drastic impact on our local economy.

Posted by: Contagion at September 7, 2005 06:31 PM

Arkansas is dry as a bone....dry, leaves already brown and falling, there will be no gorgeous fall colors..

Nebraska, also dry, the Platte and the Loop were both dry when I drove over them...I even too a photo, so I could blog about it.....

Posted by: ArmyWifeToddlerMom at September 7, 2005 09:52 PM

Can't they just send the cows out into the field to graze?

Posted by: Harvey at September 9, 2005 10:44 AM