Relentless Rain Continues to Soak Farmers
INDIANAPOLIS - With heavy rain over the weekend and this week, Indiana farmers continue to deal with nearly $500 million in crop losses from summer flooding. Indiana USDA Farm Service Agency Executive Director Julia Wickard says the most important thing farmers can do is report crop losses, property damage and canceled plantings to their county offices. She says most of the damage is concentrated in northern Indiana, but the whole state is feeling the impact from "unprecedented rainfall." During an interview on Inside INdiana Business Television, Wickard said the deadline to report damages is approaching.
On average, Indiana experiences about 4.2 inches of rain in June. This June, around 200 recording stations across the state reported an average of 9 inches. Associate State Climatologist Ken Scheeringa says as much as 18 inches of rain fell in parts of northern Indiana.
Not surprisingly, Indiana's principal crops, corn and soybeans, are being hit the hardest. Purdue University Agriculture Extension estimates farmers statewide have lost $486 million in corn and soybean production. Agricultural Economist Chris Hurt says the state's soybean and corn crops, traditionally some of the best in the country, currently rank nearly at the bottom nationally.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's weekly crop progress report says more than one-fifth of the state's corn is in poor or very poor shape, while just under 50 percent is in good or excellent condition. Hurt says last year, around 75 percent of Indiana's crop was in good or excellent condition. The USDA also reports about 46 percent of the state's soybeans are in good or excellent condition, down from 71 percent last year.
Hurt says the silver lining for farmers is that prices they receive for crops and insurance payments are likely to be higher.