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Unplanted fields only yield confusion for Ohio farmers

It is true that a big chunk of the Midwest has struggled to get the 2019 corn and soybean crops planted in a timely fashion, but none more so than northwest Ohio. As the calendar passed by the final planting date of June 5 for corn, Ohio only had about a third of the state’s corn in the ground, with soybeans even further behind. Many farmers in the southern part of the Buckeye State were a bit more fortunate, as they got a head start on the planting season and some crossed the finish line on time, but their counterparts in northern Ohio were a far cry from reaching that goal.

Getting calls from some of our Ohio Farm Bureau members about the prospect of not planting a single seed this spring, and seeing countless pictures of planters sitting in mud puddles as more rain was on its way, made me realize that a dire situation was developing.

In the first week of June I made a trip to the areas being tested by incessant showers and storms that seemed to be timed to keep farmers out of the fields. I hit the main roads and wandered off the beaten path throughout Wood, Henry, Williams and Fulton counties and the only word to describe what I saw was “devastating.” Field after field that should have easily been rowed with corn and soybeans was instead taken over by unruly weeds of every color, shape and size. I talked to a farmer who had only planted 30 acres of corn out of his intended 1,600. You could tell by our 15 minute conversation that he and farmers all over the region were in total disbelief about the cards Mother Nature had dealt them. But as all farmers do, they look ahead and hope for a brighter tomorrow.

These complicated issues always raise more questions than answers early on and information, accurate or not, is easy to find but hard to authenticate. That is why Ohio Farm Bureau is working closely with the DeWine administration, as well as state and national agencies, to determine what options may be available for farmers to lessen the blows of this catastrophic growing season. Ohio Farm Bureau has also reached out to members of Congress and USDA about the possibility of using Prevent Plant acres to plant forage and cover crops for harvest and grazing purposes just this once in 2019.

In an age where information is spread at an incredible rate, our goal is to make sure the details shared by Ohio Farm Bureau add a level of certainty as farmers make critical decisions this summer.

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