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

Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

Iraqi Kurd President Urges World Community to Protect Syrian City

Islamic State fighters are besieging Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab, after seizing at least 21 surrounding villages in a major assault against city on Syria's northern border with Turkey More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid