They say rain makes grain. Well, that certainly wasn’t the case this spring. Nonstop, heavy rains kept many corn, soybean, fruit and vegetable farmers out of their tractors and only about half of the state’s crops were actually planted.

I saw miles and miles of weedy fields that were sopping wet after yet another shower rushed through northwest Ohio in June. I heard the frustrations as I talked with fellow farmers all over Ohio who found very little solace in the fact that their grandparents probably never saw a planting season quite like this one.

More acres will be turned in for Prevent Plant crop insurance than ever before in Ohio. Luckily, more and more farmers are buying insurance policies. The claims that will be paid this year don’t even come close to an income earned with crop in the ground, but the coverage will hopefully help many farmers survive to plant a crop next year.

Dairy farmers were struggling enough as it was due to pricing and production woes. The wet spring added insult to injury. Lower corn production will lead to a shortage in feed for dairy herds this fall, compounded by a short supply of other forages like alfalfa hay due to the severe conditions of last winter. Thankfully, the U.S. Department of Agriculture stepped in and provided some help for all Ohio dairy and livestock producers by easing grazing and haying rules for this year.

It’s not only farmers and their families who are struggling, but also those who do business with them. Those involved in seed sales, implement dealers, fertilizer applicators and grain elevator operators are all on the minds of farmers, too. The trickle-down effect of a slow farm economy travels fast, and farmers feel all of the pressure of keeping their key agricultural partners viable.

We appreciate the attention Gov. DeWine and Ohio’s congressional delegation in Washington have given to the critical challenges of Ohio agriculture. It’s comforting when our neighbors check in after realizing that the corn or soybean fields that usually pop up in their backyards are as empty now as they were in February. The community support has been great and farmers are very appreciative of it.

It is ingrained in farmers to plant, grow and harvest a successful crop year in and year out. Truth be told, too many of us will not be able to meet any of those goals this year. That harsh reality can put stress on their bottom line and their mental well-being. One website, from Ohio State, is a valuable resource to help with farm stress during these difficult times. Ohio Department of Agriculture also is providing online resources.

But farmers don’t quit. Those sidelined during planting season still work on searching for best management practices to improve nutrient management and water quality. They continue to find ways to be more efficient, productive and sustainable. That forward thinking will power farmers through these turbulent times with anticipation for a new beginning and a better result next year.

I'm eternally grateful for the support Ohio Farm Bureau scholarships provided in helping me turn my dreams into reality.
Bethany Starlin's avatar
Bethany Starlin

Hocking County Farm Bureau

Available scholarships
I see the value and need to be engaged in the community I live in, to be a part of the decision-making process and to volunteer with organizations that help make our community better.
Matt Aultman's avatar
Matt Aultman

Darke County Farm Bureau

Leadership development
With not growing up on a farm, I’d say I was a late bloomer to agriculture. I feel so fortunate that I found the agriculture industry. There are so many opportunities for growth.
Jenna Gregorich's avatar
Jenna Gregorich

Coshocton County Farm Bureau

Growing our Generation
Labor has always been an issue, mainly because we are a seasonal operation. So that's a challenge finding somebody who only wants to work three months out of a year, sometimes up to six months.
Mandy Way's avatar
Mandy Way

Way Farms

Business Solutions
Farm Bureau involvement has taught me how to grow my professional and leadership experience outside of the workforce and how to do that in a community-centric way.
Jaclyn De Candio's avatar
Jaclyn De Candio

Clark County Farm Bureau

Young Ag Professionals program
If it wasn't for Farm Bureau, I personally, along with many others, would not have had the opportunity to meet with our representatives face to face in Washington.
Austin Heil's avatar
Austin Heil

Hardin County Farm Bureau

Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
So many of the issues that OFBF and its members are advocating for are important to all Ohioans. I look at OFBF as an agricultural watchdog advocating for farmers and rural communities across Ohio.
Mary Smallsreed's avatar
Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

Advocacy
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