Please pray for our farmers this fall
To many, the sight of snow is cringe worthy, but just a mere inconvenience. To some it signifies the approaching holidays, but do you ever stop and wonder what it means to our farmers?
As you drive past field after field that still contain crops, which are now covered in snow, do you ever give it a second thought? We as a society have become so detached from where and who our food comes from that we no longer have a care in the world about the hardships that our farmers are facing this year.
The 2019 planting season is said to have been the wettest in 124 years, but what does that mean exactly and why should you care?
This was the start of a very detrimental farming season. Many farmers weren't able to get a single acre of land planted, which in turn causes a spiral effect. The simplest consequence of not being able to plant is that there wont be a crop, which means no money to pay for the seed and fertilizer that had already been purchased, no money to pay for the ground, no money to pay for the equipment, no money to pay for hired help, no money for their own living expenses, no money period.
It would be as if you bought an entire new wardrobe, a brand new vehicle, and all the supplies you would need for a brand new job, just to never start. You'd still have all of those expenses, but now you wouldn't have any income to cover them or to cover your cost of living. Now multiply those costs by at least ten.
Aside from the money issues brought on by not being able to plant, it causes other issues as well. Ground that isn't planted is much harder to keep weeds under control in, which can cause issues for years to come. Even if weeds are kept in check, it can lead to soil erosion which will cost the farmer more money in the years to come due to extra fertilizer being needed and lower yields. Sometimes they'll even lose the ground all together, or ultimately their whole farm.
What about the lucky ones who did manage to get their crops planted? You would probably think that they would be okay for the year, but guess again.
Once the crops were planted and growing, the time that the rain was actually needed, much of America went into a drought. This put a major damper on yield potential, or in other words, how much grain is grown per acre. A lot of these crops were also planted much later than normal, which means that primary growth was happening at not ideal times of the year and harvest would be pushed back.
You're probably thinking that having to harvest later in the year shouldn't be a big deal right? Wrong! This typically translates to crops not having as long to grow, which means once again, a lower yield. It also means that crops probably wont have enough time to dry down. Harvesting crops that are too wet can be hard on equipment and cost the farmer more money since the grain can't be stored normally and needs to be further dried.
On top of all of that the rains decided to make a come back this fall which has made harvest just as much of a nightmare as planting was.
That "pretty" snow that we had dumped on us early this year can be the final straw for some farmers. They have fought tooth and nail this year to get their crops in the field and keep them alive just to lose everything in one day.
What many don't know is that snow can wipe out an entire soybean crop. It can lay the bean plants on the ground, or even break their stems, making them nearly impossible to combine. If they manage to stay standing, the moisture from the snow can cause the beans to swell and pop open the pods, ultimately ending up on the ground and becoming unharvestable.
If you're still with me you're probably wondering why you should care. In the simplest of terms, no farmers = no food. Soybeans are used in many things including animal feed, vegetable oil, tofu, protein supplements, salad dressings, margarine, bio-diesel, bio-heat, paints, plastics, cleaners, and more. The less amount of soybeans making it to harvest raises the price of soybeans, which ultimately raises the price of virtually every product in the grocery store.
Our farmers have been struggling and this year truly could mean the end of generations of hard work for some of these families. That's what the snow means to our farmers. That's why you should care.
Please pray for our farmers, they may not survive to see another season.
Abbott is President of Helping Harvest Farm Relief, an organization formed due to an increasing need for help to keep farmers afloat in our struggling economy.