What a spring it has been for the farming industry in Northwest Ohio. The conditions were downright awful for our area farmers. The wet spring will have a huge impact on the entire state of Ohio, as well as Indiana, Illinois, and other parts of the Midwest. While some areas of our nation’s farm country have not been impacted, we cannot say the same about our local Northwest Ohio farm community. While yields were some of the best in 2019 for Hancock County, the grain price has been low for the past few years. Consequently, it has caused an elongated cash strapped farm community in general. To make matters worse, our area farmers are now dealing with one of the worst planting seasons in history! It is going to have a long-term effect on our local community with predictions of 2 to 3 years of negative activity surrounding our local ag community.
A Look at the Numbers
The official Hancock County planting numbers will not be available from the FSA office until around September 1, 2019. Only speculations about what has been planted can be made. Some of our local experts are guessing that only 35% of the corn acres have been planted in 2019, while approximately 50-60% of soybeans have been planted.
There are two concerns here:
- Extremely low number of acres planted.
- Time of when the seeds actually went into the ground.
It’s safe to say a majority of the crops were planted in less than ideal conditions. Most went in 25 to 30 or more days late, resulting in lack of critical growing days. These critical growing days help increase yields, which amounts to increased revenue for these hardworking farm families. The concerns now are an early frost date (typically comes October 10-15), and dry conditions in July and August. Additionally, time will tell if the crops in the ground will make much of a yield at all if our summer conditions are not favorable.
Importance of the Farming Industry to Our Agency
Our roots run deep in farming! Our agency’s owner’s family owns productive farm ground. One of our insurance professional owns and operates a row crop operation with his 2 brothers and parents. Our brand manager is involved in both her husband’s row crop farm operation, as well as her parents’ row crop and livestock operation. We understand and appreciate the farming industry. With that said, what can be done to help our county’s largest industry? Next, let’s discuss some things that may affect our community, as well as some things you can personally do to help the situation.
Things You Can Do to Help the Farming Industry
- Be aware of your surroundings! If you see a neighbor that looks down on their luck, or is disgruntled, give them a shoulder to lean on. Simply talk with them and provide a listening ear. See if you can turn a bad day into an okay one.
- Get in touch with our rural clergy folks and ask them to give an extra moment to say a prayer on Sundays for the farm community.
- Buy local! Support local! If a local beef grower sells freezer beef, think about purchasing from them directly. If they have laying chickens, get fresh eggs from them! Attend farmer’s markets to buy your produce.
- Be aware of what our community has to offer to those in need. The United Way has resources and people available to discuss community options. There are numerous non-profit agencies willing to help with a wide variety of services for those in need, such as 50 North.
Local Economic Changes
- Food price increase: There is a shortage of hay/alfalfa due to the cold winter conditions coupled by the wet spring. Corn prices are likely to go up due to the shortage, which increases the input costs. Consequently, this will raise the price of goods, such as food.
- Scarce or obsolete farm market produce: You will likely not be able to purchase local sweet corn and pumpkins like in years past. A majority of these crops never made it to the ground due to the wet spring.
- Cut in spending at this year’s county fair: the local co-ops, implement dealers, custom applicators and seed companies are all taking a financial hit. Unfortunately, cuts will have to be made. These 4-H and FFA exhibitors depend on premium bids to break even on their projects, so they can come back and do it again next year. Think about asking a community member or business to support this year’s livestock auction and fair. This year will certainly provide a great learning experience on how to get through trying times. However, lets support the youth in every way we can.
- Quality employee possibilities: If you know an employer looking for quality employees, consider reaching out to the farm community. A lot of farmers hold CDLs and could easily step into a driving role for a trucking company or local contracting firm. They also possess other skilled trades, such as a mechanic, laborer, and construction. You may see farmers step into additional roles to supplement income in these trying times.
We’re in it Together
If you think it doesn’t affect you, think again! Regardless of your involvement with the farming industry, everyone will likely feel the impact in some way. Our farm community has been through difficult times in the past. On the bright side, they found a way to make it through then and they will do the same now. All we ask is that you are aware of your surroundings. Help a neighbor! Educate yourself on what is happening to your local community and economy! Above all, show your support of these hard working folks that have a passion for tending to the fields and animals to provide for others.
The community is a very important part of our agency’s foundation. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help!