When the Drought Really Hits Home
Nobody ever told us farming would be easy. They said you'll have bad years, real bad years and hopefully some good years too. But that is the reality of being in the business we are in - it's unpredictable.
When we started full-time farming on our own in 2006, it was an uphill battle and we relied heavily on Big D's family connections to purchase supplies and inputs. But we made it and we're proud to still be farming strong and carrying on the family tradition, despite having a few bad years with poor pig prices and a less than stellar corn and soybean crop.
This year has really put our love for farming to the test. After a couple bad years, we figured we could make it through any challenge or any obstacle. But it's hard to fathom a year without rain, and I do mean zero rain during practically the entire growing season. It's hard to imagine the impact it will have on a livestock farm and more importantly a farm family.
Until you live it that is.
You try to keep your head up (and your farmer's), but it's hard sometimes because you work so hard to till the ground, plant the crop and provide nutrients (like nitrogen) for your crop only to watch it die slowly over the course of several months. Scorching heat and zero rain showers does some incredibly devastating things to a corn crop, besides stunting its growth, ears that never completely form, ears that rot away and so much more.
We are on the verge of harvest right now. The combine is ready to go and waiting in the barn lot. The grain cart is ready to be filled and unloaded into the semi. And the grain bins are empty and ready to be filled. Usually, this time of the year, we are excited and eager to get out in the fields and see what the harvest will bring. This year, it is with a bit of hesitation that I send my farmer out to the fields for fall harvest.
It's been estimated that our drought-stricken corn crop will yield as low as 25 bushels per acre and up to 100 bushels per acre. I never in my life could've imagined wishing and hoping for 100 bushels per acre when on a good year we average close to 200 bushels per acre.
We don't know what's out there and that is beyond scary.
And while we may have crop insurance (which is a God send by the way) to reimburse us for up to 134 bushels per acre, that's not enough. See 100 percent of our corn crop is used to feed our pigs and we use every last kernel. So at some point in the next several months we will be forced to purchase corn to feed our pigs. And with corn expected to reach up to $11 per bushel (right now it's around $8), you can only imagine what kind of financial strain that will do to our business.
The reality is that this drought has taken its toll not only on our corn crop, but my family. My hubby has been beyond stressed trying to figure out how we're going to make it through this. He has been praying and hoping for 100 bushels per acre, though we know that still won't be enough.
But as his partner and wife, I will stand by his side no matter what happens, encouraging him and reminding him that no matter what things will be Ok.
So while the mainstream media news has simmered on the drought and the impact it will have on farmers across the country, it's not over, the pain is only just beginning for livestock farm families.
Even though, we've had several inches of rain in the last couple weeks, it's a little too late, unfortunately.
But just like I tell my farmer hubby, things will be Ok, I know they will. Besides, I believe 100 percent that the Lord is in our corner and he will help carry us through this unprecedented year in farming.
Sometimes a little prayer goes a long way.