Rain Leaves Many Farmers Considering Desperate Measures to Avoid Financial Ruin

A farmer in Illinois said he needs to plant by June 5 or his crop insurance starts to drop by 1 percent a day for 10 days.

Persistent wet weather has left many farmers in Indiana and Illinois well behind in their crucial spring task of planting corn and soybeans, and some could take desperate measures to avoid financial ruin. 

The delays caused by soggy fields means some farmers are now weighing their options, including whether to even plant corn, which has a longer growing season than soybeans.

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Donnie Linzie, a farmer in Gardner, Illinois, said that by this time last year his corn and soybean crops would have been planted.

"We usually plant 150,000 plants per acre," he said. "That's your livelihood, and you can't get in there to take care of it." 

As of Thursday, the farmer of 60 years said nothing has been planted on his 170 acres in Grundy County because the ground is saturated and covered with several inches of rain water.

He said he needs to plant by June 5 or his crop insurance starts to drop by 1 percent a day for 10 days. 

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The federal government's weekly crop report for Indiana shows that just 22 percent of Indiana's corn acreage was planted by May 26. That's far behind the five-year average of 85 percent of Indiana's corn crop planted by that date. 

Only 11 percent of Indiana's soybeans are in the ground, putting that crop well behind the five-year average of 63 percent.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture had similar findings, saying that many farmers are well behind when it comes to planting their crops for the growing season. 

The difficulties in getting plants into the ground have some farmers considering increasingly desperate measures. According to the AP, some farmers, including 65-year-old Ken Shrock of Bunker Hill, IN, are considering forgoing any planting to avoid losing money this season. 

"It's just throwing good money after bad. You're going to have a bad yield and terrible prices, so what's the use?" 

On June 5, farmers with federal crop insurance who have not planted any corn can take a payment that hands out 55 percent of the guaranteed corn revenue price set by the insurance plan. An analysis by Purdue University indicates that payment would clock in at $375 per acre. 

"If they cross that point of no return, they'll either have to plant soybeans, or in extreme circumstances, collect the insurance," educator Mathias Ingle said. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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