This week, the National Corn Growers Association continued its seventh season of Field Notes, a series that takes readers behind the farm gate to follow the year in the life of American farm families. While these growers come from diverse geographic areas and run unique operations, they share a common love for U.S. agriculture and the basic values that underpin life in farming communities.
Field Notes caught up with Kyle Kirby, who farms in the southwestern part of Missouri. While Kirby had been optimistic about his corn crop a few weeks prior, he has been disappointed by how things have gone since then.
“I hate to tell you, but this part of the country has gotten every single rain that has come through since Easter. We got a big rain event on Easter morning that caused us to replant about 1,500 acres,” said Kirby. “We got started doing that earlier this week, and, wouldn’t you know, we caught another three or four inches of very hard rain. We didn’t finish our replant, and, now, we don’t know where we stand on a double replant.”
Kirby went on to provide insight into what having to replant in this manner does to family farms such as his own.
“If we can’t get a crop in the field, our options are limited in terms of what we can do to produce income this year,” he explained. “Luckily, the crop insurance programs that we have available today do help a lot. Right now, the top end of our yield potential is gone. We will get in and plant a crop. But, when you replant twice and still have a crop going, it is tough. It really affects your bottom line.”
While the financial situation impacts Kirby, he also has concerns for the environmental impact that the weather might have on his land.
“When you get as many inches of rain as we have had in the past few weeks, it is really tough on the ground too. We pay attention to soil conservation, but it is hard when you get 10 to 15 inches of rain during the planting season. It is a struggle.”
Stay tuned over the coming weeks as Field Notes follows the growers who have opened their farms, families and communities up this year and meet the true faces of modern American agriculture.
NCGA is taking a series of actions to do our part to help contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the economic fallout it is creating for corn farmers and our customers. Short term, this means instituting policies to protect the health and safety of our stakeholders and the broader communities we serve. Long term, we’re focused on creating solutions to help corn farmers and our customers recover from the financial impacts of this crisis.
CommonGround is a group of farmers connecting with consumers through conversations about science and research and personal stories about food and misinformation surrounding farming. Supported by the NCGA and state corn organizations.
The Soil Health Partnership (SHP) is a farmer-led initiative that fosters transformation in agriculture through improved soil health. Administered by NCGA the partnership has more than 220 working farms enrolled in 16 states. SHP’s mission is to utilize science and data to partner with farmers who are adopting conservation agricultural practices that improve the economic and environmental sustainability of the farm.