News / USA

Drought Taking Toll on Midwest Corn Producers

Drought Taking Toll on Midwest Corn Producersi
|| 0:00:00
X
Kane Farabaugh
July 27, 2012 7:09 PM
Record high temperatures and lack of rain across the United States continue to fuel the worst drought in a generation. For some farmers in the hardest hit areas, like the Midwest state of Illinois, the damage to corn and soybeans is already severe. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from southern Illinois, farmers are facing tough decisions about what to do with their wilting crops.

Drought Taking Toll on Midwest US Corn Producers

Kane Farabaugh
DU BOIS, Illinois — Record high temperatures and lack of rain across the United States continue to fuel the worst drought in a generation.  For some farmers in the hardest hit areas, like the Midwest state of Illinois, the damage to corn and soybeans is already severe.  Farmers are facing tough decisions about what to do with their wilting crops.

One of those farmers, Alan Bowers Junior, can see and hear the profits from his corn disintegrating.  The corn stalks on his field near Du Bois Illinois are so dry and brittle, they break up just by touching them.  None of the stalks are producing usable corn.

Because of the drought, thousands of hectares of his farm are in similar shape.

"It's very devastating," said Bowers.  "You drive past it every day.  It's out your back door.  You get up in the morning, and you think it might be another 13 months before we get a paycheck.  The corn and soybean crop is our paycheck."

In mid-July, Bowers made a heart-wrenching decision.  Faced with a near total loss of his corn crop, he decided to cut it down.

"We are making what they call corn silage out of this for the animals, for the cows, and if you wait until it's completely dried up it won't even make suitable feed for the animals," Bowers explained.  "So we have to do it in a timely fashion before the hot temperatures and winds dry it out even more and turns it completely into you might say dust."

Dust is the consistency of much of Bowers' farmland, exposed to the wind now that the stalks are cut down.  Some of the only stalks left standing are for crop insurance adjusters to inspect.  

Alan Bowers and his wife Lori are hoping for a modest insurance settlement just so that they can make ends meet until next year.

"We have no boss, and nobody to help us, and it's tough, you have to work together you have to work with a husband a wife and family and together try to work through it," Lori Bowers explained.

The remaining land on the Bowers farm is filled with soybeans, and unless a significant amount of rain falls in the next several weeks, the outlook for production is just as grim.

Lori's husband Alan says if next year is anything like the present, he isn't sure the farm that has been in his family for four generations can survive.

"It will be five times as challenging as what it is this year," Alan Bowers noted.

Bowers adds that the only way to prevent losing his farm is to have more of what he and his wife have been praying for this year, rain.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid