Gov. Eric J. Holcomb convened leaders from the state’s agriculture sectors on Thursday to receive an update on unprecedented weather conditions that have impacted farms and other agriculture businesses statewide. As of this week, only 84 percent of Indiana’s corn crop and 64 percent of soybeans have been planted, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). That is an increase from the start of month, but both crops are usually at 100 percent planted for this time of year.
Representatives from Indiana Corn & Soybean, the Indiana Farm Service Agency, Agribusiness Council of Indiana, Indiana Pork, Purdue College of Agriculture and others joined Gov. Holcomb for the meeting.
“The unprecedented weather and extreme field conditions have put Indiana farmers in a very trying situation,” Gov. Holcomb said. “The relentless rainfall has prevented many acres from being planted and in some cases farmers have not been able to plant at all. This not only affects crop producers but those involved in animal production and the businesses that supply them.”
According to USDA, there have only been 27 days suitable for fieldwork in Indiana since late March. That’s 20 days less when compared to the same timeframe in 2018. Heavy, consistent rainfall has saturated fields across the state. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data shows that the past 12 months have been the wettest on record in the U.S.
The Governor is working with Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director Bruce Kettler and his staff, and the Indiana Farm Service Agency, to pursue options for agriculture assistance for Indiana farmers. That will include decisions about proceeding with requests for federal assistance as assessments are completed at the county level.
“It’s been an extremely difficult year for farmers in Indiana,” Director Kettler said. “That’s why we’re working to ensure we’re providing all available options.”
The Farm Service Agency needs an accurate account of the fields impacted by the storms in Indiana to determine if a request can be made to USDA. Farmers are encouraged to contact their local Farm Service Agency office and report their planted acres as soon as possible but no later than July 15.