A group of farmers held a Prevent Plant Party at a local restaurant
By Diego Flammini
Members of the Illinois ag industry found a unique way of passing the time as wet weather continues to wreak havoc on the 2019 crop.
Farmers, seed dealers and others gathered at The Happy Spot in Deer Grove, Ill. on Thursday for what was dubbed a “Prevent Plant Party.”
James McCune, a producer from Mineral, Ill., helped organize the gathering of about 125 people to trade stories while enjoying a drink and some pub fare.
But despite the light-hearted theme around the event, the topic of conversation was serious.
Constant rains and cool temperatures mean some farmers won’t plant all their crops.
McCune, for example, only seeded about 950 of his planned 6,000 corn acres. He sent unused seed back to his dealer.
“It’s a disaster like I’ve never seen before,” McCune told Fox Business. “My neighbors didn’t get 90 percent of their corn planted.”
Mike Thacker, a grower from Walnut, Ill., seeded about 60 percent of his intended acres. And even those crops don’t look good, he said.
“It makes you feel terrible,” he told Reuters during the party. “This is our livelihood. We want to do a good job. We have not done a good job.”
The party also shone a light on how delayed or incomplete planting has a domino effect on the industry.
Fewer planted acres means farmers need less crop protection products and services, said Greg McKnight, a salesman with Barman Seed in Woodhull, Ill.
“Since all this rain began, it’s like shutting the light switch off,” he told Reuters. “My phone has quit ringing on sales.”
Grain elevators are preparing for less intake too.
“We’re trying to figure out how to make it a break-even year,” Dan Koster, owner of Tettens Grains in Sterling, Ill., told Reuters during the gathering.
Tettens Grains may only take in 60 to 75 percent of the 10 million bushels of grain it normally handles annually, Koster said.
Farms.com has reached out to The Happy Spot and Illinois Corn Growers for comment.
Farmers at The Happy Spot
Mario Parker/Bloomberg photo