Plains Edition | August 2019

10 Farm and Ranch Network Service Co. • Plains Edition • August 2019 rural economy By Mario Parker, Denitsa Tsekova & Michael Hirtzer, Bloomberg From 100 feet up in the air, Indiana crop duster Robert Sneberger gets a better view than most of how cornfields are faring. This season, the picture is bleak. Instead of the stretching green stalks he normally sees at this time of year, there’s water. The wettest year in memory has stalled planting and stunted crops in the Midwest at a time when farmers are already struggling with low prices and a trade war with China. But they’re not alone. The communities they live in and the businesses that supply them with seeds, fertilizer, equipment and services are struggling as credit conditions steadily deteriorate in a fragile rural economy. At Burrus Seed in Arenzville, Illinois, employees spend as much time trying to lift farmers’ spirits as they do selling to them, according to the owner. “If we experienced a year like this, I don’t remember it,” said Todd Burrus, whose family has run the company since 1935. “When the farm economy is tough, it’s going to be tough for all the suppliers.” Another Illinois seed business owner, Kurt Barman, says he’s trying not to curtail employee hours even as customers are returning product because they aren’t able to plant. “All of the seeds are coming back, so that’s lost revenue for us,” he said. The wet weather is presenting farmers with other purchasing dilemmas. Growers are weighing whether to trade up to the latest Quality Liquid Crop Nutrition To Take Advantage of Seasonal Discounts, Call 1-800-635-4743 Sure Crop Fertilizers - Seneca, KS Healthy Fields ~ Optimum Yields! BOOST YOUR YIELDS WITH SURE CROP FOLIAR NUTRITION! Designed to Optimize Yields Beneficial for all Crops Adaptable in Application Method Highly Efficient Nutrients Your Solution To Clogged Sprinkler Nozzles American Agriculture Products • 580-651-0377 10009091 Continued on page 14 City of Kearney, Courtesy photo