It looks like 2019 could be the worst year for U.S. agriculture in modern American history by a very wide margin. As you will see below, millions upon millions of acres of U.S. farmland will go unused this year due to cataclysmic flooding. And many of the farmers that did manage to plant crops are reporting extremely disappointing results.
The 12 month period that concluded at the end of April was the wettest 12 month period in U.S. history, and more storms just kept on coming throughout the month of May. And now forecasters are warning of another series of storms this week, and following that it looks like a tropical storm will pummel the region. As Bloomberg has pointed out, we have truly never seen a year like this ever before…
There has never been a spring planting season like this one. Rivers topped their banks. Levees were breached. Fields filled with water and mud. And it kept raining.
Many farmers just kept waiting for the flooding and the rain to end so that they could plant their crops, but that didn’t happen.
At this point it is too late for many farmers to plant crops at all, and it is now being projected that 6 million acres of farmland that is usually used for corn will go completely unsown this year…
There has never been weather like this, either. The 12 months that ended with April were the wettest ever for the contiguous U.S. That spurred other firsts: Corn plantings are further behind schedule for this time of year than they have been in records dating to 1980 and analysts are predicting an unheard-of 6 million acres intended for the grain may simply go unsown this year.
And we could actually see even more soybean acres go unplanted, because the latest crop progress report shows that soybean planting is even further behind…
The Crop Progress indicated just 67% of corn was planted in 18 key corn-producing states. The 2014-18 average for corn planted by June 2nd is 96%, so planting is off 30.2% in comparison.
Corn planting has been at an all-time low percentage for the last three reports and remains behind schedule in 17 of the 18 states monitored.
Soybean planting is behind in 16 of the 18 key soybean-producing states, according to the report. So far, just 39% of soybean planting has taken place, compared to the five-year average of 79% by June 2nd, meaning soybean planting is off 50.6%.
In the end, we could easily see more than 10 million acres of U.S. farmland go completely unused this year.
And please don’t assume that the acres that have been planted are going to be okay. In Nebraska, farmer Ed Brummels said that conditions are so bad that it is “like we are trying to plant on top of a lake!”…
It’s like we are trying to plant on top of a lake! Planting will be over soon as farmers continue to be frustrated with these very saturated conditions.
When you plant fields that are absolutely saturated with water, the results can be extremely disappointing, and that is what we are hearing all over the nation.
Here is just one example…
In Keota, Iowa, Lindsay Greiner sowed his 700 acres of corn toward the end of April — and then wasn’t able to get into his soaked fields for five weeks. He’s expecting much lower yields this year than last.
The crop right now is yellow. “It should be green,” he said. “It looks so bad.”
Farmers in the middle of the country desperately need things to dry out for an extended period of time.
But that is not going to happen any time soon.
In fact, meteorologists are telling us that more storms are going to hammer the middle of the country over the next few days…
The situation does not look to improve for farmers in the U.S. Corn Belt. AccuWeather is predicting the pattern of rounds of showers and thunderstorms to continue, with storms over part of the flood-stricken areas into midweek. Also, the southern half of the Corn Belt is in the path of downpours expected later this week.
“If you’re along the Ohio River and you don’t have your corn planted by Wednesday, you may not plant anything additional because you may get three inches of rain between Thursday and Saturday,” said AccuWeather senior meteorologist Jason Nicholls.
Sadly, some areas could see “up to 5 inches of rain”, and needless to say that could be absolutely devastating for many farmers.
And then after that, a weather system that could soon be named “Tropical Storm Barry” is likely to move into the region…
To make matters worse, rain from a developing tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico could bring additional rainfall to the region: “Tropical moisture from the western Gulf of Mexico may begin impacting parts of south Texas on Tuesday,” the National Weather Service said.
The weather system, which would be named Tropical Storm Barry if its winds reach 39 mph, is now sitting in the Gulf just east of Mexico.
2019 is turning out to be a “perfect storm” for U.S. farmers, and many of them will never recover from this.
Meanwhile, flooding continues to intensify along the major rivers in the middle of the country. According to Missouri Governor Mike Parson, almost 400 roads have now been closed in his state…
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson was touring flooded areas Monday in the northeast part of the state, where there have been around a dozen water rescues. Statewide, nearly 400 roads are closed, including part of U.S. 136.
Locks and dams upstream of St. Louis are shut down as the Mississippi River crests at the second-highest level on record in some communities. Midwestern rivers have flooded periodically since March, causing billions of dollars of damage to farmland, homes and businesses from Oklahoma and Arkansas and up to Michigan.
This flooding has been going on for months, and there is no end in sight.
In recent days, multiple levees in the state of Missouri have been breached, and a number of small towns are now totally under water…
The small town of Levasy in northwest Missouri’s Jackson County was under water Saturday after a levee breach along the Missouri River. Officials there were conducting water rescues by boat, according to the Associated Press, but no injuries were reported.
In Howard County in central Missouri, the river topped a levee prompting evacuations in Franklin, New Franklin and a stretch along Highway 5 from the Boonville Bridge to New Franklin, AP reported. The zone essentially covers all of the Missouri River bottom from Petersburg to Rocheport.
In West Alton and Alton, where the Missouri and Mississippi rivers meet, floodwaters are expected to rise another 3 feet by Wednesday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Some buildings in Alton are already surrounded by water, and the flood plain in West Alton is covered.
This is a nightmare that never seems to end, but many Americans living on both coasts don’t seem to be taking this disaster very seriously.
But they should be taking it seriously because if farmers don’t grow our food, we don’t eat.
The food that we are eating right now is from past production. The crops that are being grown now represent food that we will be eating in the future, and right now it looks like a whole lot less food will be produced than we expected.
That means that food prices will start going up, and they will probably keep going up for the foreseeable future.
We are moving into extremely uncertain times, but most Americans don’t seem to understand this yet.
For a very long time we have been able to take stability for granted, but now everything is starting to change. Those that are wise will be able to adapt to the changing conditions, but unfortunately it appears that most Americans believe that there is simply nothing to be concerned about.