Farmers in Illinois may be forced to make claims on their farmer’s insurance policies after the season’s severe weather and extreme rains have damaged crops.
Tornadoes and other disasters have destroyed nearly half of the state’s corn crops as of this July, meaning they rate from fair to very poor. The same goes for more than half of the soybean crops in Illinois.
Emerson Nafziger, a crop specialist with the University of Illinois Extension, explained that the problem can be blamed on the rain. “Water has stood on the crop and really destroyed its chance to produce any crop in lots of places,” he told WQAD 8.
The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service reports that more than 40% of the state’s soil has excess moisture. Soybeans are only blooming at a rate of 56%, 10 points below last year’s numbers.
“This is going to be one of those years when people are going to be very grateful for crop insurance and happy they have it,” Nafziger said. He regularly sees farmers come to the university to get advice on growing during heavy rains.
But it’s not only the crops themselves that have been harmed. Approximately 97% of the nation’s 2.2 million farms are family owned, and that goes for the farmers in Illinois, too.
Now many families have to decide whether to rebuild after rains have destroyed crops and winds have taken houses, barns, and other outbuildings.
“How much does it make sense to rebuild?” Wendell Shauman asked after the destruction of his family’s century-old farm in Kirkwood. “Where do you put it? So, we’re sitting down and having those discussions. Just what do you do?”
Meanwhile, Illinois officials are still seeking federal disaster relief for the inclement weather and damage done to farms in the form of low-interest loans.