Farmers are hurting in north central Ohio.
Seeking federal relief for Ohio farmers, Gov. Mike DeWine sent a formal letter June 14 to the United States Department of Agriculture declaring a state of disaster due to the recent weather conditions that are delaying crop production.
“The harsh reality for Ohio farmers is that many acres will remain unplanted,” DeWine states in a press release issued by his office. “Our dairy and livestock sectors also face serious forage and feed shortages. We recognize the tremendous challenges facing our agricultural community, and we are working to identify any and all sources of possible relief.”
Since the fall of 2018, excessive rainfall has challenged Ohio farmers by creating poor field conditions to the point that some 2018 crops are still in the field and yet to be harvested. With the current weather and condition of fields, producers are dealing with field erosion, delayed field work and planting, challenges with manure applications, and concerns have been expressed by livestock producers over what is sure to be a short supply of forage.
Looking last week statewide, 50 percent of the corn has been planted and 32 percent of the beans.
Rain is in the forecast every day this week until Friday, and then we have a break over the weekend with more rain coming in Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday of next week.
Jacci Smith, an Ag, Natural Resources, and 4-H educator with The OSU Extension Delaware County, said she farms near Ashley and a little in Morrow County.
“We have 35 percent of our corn acres and 20 percent of bean acres in,” she said. “We’re barely halfway.”
Smith said the crops are planted, but the fields are currently under water.
“We got four inches over the weekend, and it’s forecasted to rain for the next seven days again,” she said. “That definitely puts a damper on things.”
Smith said not only does she raise crops, but she also raises sheep and cattle, and she is finding herself short on hay because of being behind on cuttings.
“We actually donated 45 bails of round bails of hay out to Nebraska when they were having their flood issues,” she said. “We’re currently short on hay.”
Smith said it is the wettest 12 months on record in Ohio, and she has 40 acres of “beautiful alfalfa” sitting in the field that can’t be cut due to the wet weather.
“It’s very hard to sit in the house and watch it rain all day knowing that there is so much out there not planted and is not going to bring an income,” she said. “Right now, we would need at least a week or more (of dry weather) to get a good cutting of hay.”
Smith said that the producers depending on corn crops to feed livestock are the ones taking twice the hit, because they don’t have corn for feed nor corn to sell.
“A lot of our livestock farmers that I know of and a lot of my sheep producer friends across the entire state and nation are buying as much corn as they can right now, because we know that price is going to skyrocket.”
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.