Katelyn Weisbrod | August 16, 2017
Nearly half of the state is in a drought this summer, and Iowa farmers are struggling to make ends meet.
A Des Moines Register report showed thousands of Iowa farmers are not seeing enough rain this summer, while crop prices remain low and farm income continues to trend downward. Corn and soybean prices are down 10 percent from July, and this year, farm income is expected to fall $62 billion nationwide.
“The drought isn’t widespread enough to push up prices,” Charles Brown, an Iowa State University farm management specialist said to the Register. “It’s the worst-case scenario — low prices and low yields.”
Some farmers have crop insurance to cover their losses, but often, it’s not enough. Many rely on savings to get them through after a tough year.
The drought is also drying up pastures, eliminating a dependable food source for cattle. Some farmers use hay to supplement the animals’ diets. And if a farmer’s crop has a low yield unworthy of harvesting, the farmer may choose to chop it into animal feed instead of trying to sell it.
There is still time for rainfall to improve the outlook for Iowa farmers’ crops this season, however, some are losing hope.
“People get frustrated. They throw up their hands and don’t do anything,” Brown said to the Register. “But now isn’t the time to procrastinate. [Farmers] need to get a plan together.”