News / USA

Corn Harvest Comes Early for Midwest Farmers

Amid Drought, Corn Harvest Comes Early for Midwest Farmersi
|| 0:00:00
X
Kane Farabaugh
August 27, 2012 10:54 PM
The worst drought conditions in a generation are sending some U.S. farmers into their fields early to harvest corn. As VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, the poor condition of the corn is cutting into farmers' profits and is driving global prices higher.
Kane Farabaugh
TAYLORVILLE, Illinois — The worst drought conditions in a generation are sending some U.S. farmers into their fields early to harvest corn.  In the Midwest state of Illinois the poor condition of the corn is cutting into farmers' profits and is driving global prices higher.

The only thing farmer Bruce Nation sees in his cornfields outside Taylorville, Illinois, is heartache.

“This stuff is depressing here.  This is hard to look at for me,” he said.

Most of the ears of corn that managed to grow in his fields are much smaller than normal because of the drought.  Smaller corn means less to sell, which cuts into Nation’s bottom line.

“Probably, maybe 30 kernels on that whole thing.  This is what we are up against,” he said.

Nation was also up against the risk that comes with planting and growing when the cost for seed and fertilizer are at all time highs.

“You are at the mercy of Mother Nature.  Some people ask me why I do not gamble. Why, I gamble every day," he said. "That is just the way it is when you farm.”

As he takes to the fields to harvest - this year about a month ahead of schedule because of the drought - Nation is watching that gamble in real time.  Thanks to an Internet connection in his tractor, he keeps a close watch on the rapidly-changing price for his corn and soybeans.

“I watch them every day," Nation said.  "I have a consultant who helps me on my marketing, he watches it every hour.”

Commodity traders on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade are also keeping close watch over the rapidly changing prices, including GrainAnalyst.com’s Matthew Pierce.

“The drought concerns this year have expanded exponentially as we have approached harvest, and some of the pro-farmer numbers we have seen recently have shown much more damage than was even expected just a month ago,” he said.

Pierce says the outlook for both corn and soybeans gets worse by the day, and has global implications.

“The U.S. exportable surplus is dwindling by the day," he said. "And China, Japan, South Korea, Mexico are going to be most directly affected by that.

“We are at all time highs on both corn and soybeans, and that hurts everything over the long, long haul," Pierce continued. "Everybody is going to feel this effect.”

Everybody, including Nation’s neighbors, will feel it.  He says they will see an increase in the price of their groceries in about six months.

But despite all he faces, Bruce Nation will not call this year’s drought a disaster.

“I would not say a disaster.  I would say a setback," he said.  "It is going to set every body back a little bit.  But the farmer has a heck of a human spirit to him, and he is going to go right on plugging.  And that is all you can do, keep swinging.”

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid