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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid