Farming Concerns in Iowa

Farmers are facing a very difficult spring in 2019. We recently drove 2 hrs through southeast Iowa and western Illinois. It appeared less than half the fields were planted. Late for this time of year. Nearly all plantings were corn less than 4 inches tall. Of those, there were large areas drowned out by recent heavy rains. The soybean crop has not been planted. Iowa normally supplies 13% of the nation’s soybeans. Much of the rich agricultural land of mid-America has received more than twice the normal precipitation for the year which has slowed work tremendously.

Several challenging issues for farmers are converging. Here are a few. Do they have crop insurance to cover losses? Is the federal government Market Facilitation Program recently announced going to help soybean farmers? What funds are available to help mitigate the growing problem of nitrates and nutrients in the watershed?

Chris Jones of the Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research (IIHR) blogged on these issues. He explores these questions in his blog post This is why we can’t have nice things. I invite you to read his observations. Quoting:

Yes, I know we are having an unusual weather condition right now, and it is a factor in those numbers. But the fact of the matter is, we made weather a factor by wiping out the ecosystems that provided weather resilience. The landscape has no resilience to extreme weather. We see this year after year after year. Heck, when it comes to nitrogen loss, it has no resilience to even average weather… I think we deserve better.


10 thoughts on “Farming Concerns in Iowa

    1. Jim R Post author

      If I were farming, I would not want a government official throwing tariff devices into my business. Leave me alone. Any business person would feel the same, I think.

  1. shoreacres

    I’m presently attending the North American Prairie Conference at the University of Houston/Clear Lake, and it’s been interesting to talk with people from Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri about the flooding, and the effects on their states. Although the focus of the conference is prairies rather than agriculture, I suspect that some of the presentations and workshops dealing with things like post-hurricane Harvey recovery will make the same point Chris Jones made: “we made weather a factor by wiping out the ecosystems that provided weather resilience.”


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