Iowa corn farmers face two straight years of disaster

The Oklahoman Editorial Published: August 22, 2012

Oklahoma is wheat country. Iowa is corn country. What farmers in the two states have in common is weather-related disasters — consecutive years of cropland devastation.

For Iowa in 2011, the problem wasn't heat and drought. It was flooding. This year, Oklahoma and Iowa farmers are simpatico. Both are dealing with too little rain, too late.

Recent rains and cooler temperatures notwithstanding, farm belt states are suffering. The 2012 winter wheat harvest in Oklahoma came before the summer meltdown; corn farmers in Iowa aren't so fortunate.

Their plight is well-known. What isn't as obvious is that farmers had planted the largest corn crop since 1937, according to the National Crop Insurance Services (NCIS). Despite that, corn production is forecast to be the lowest since 2006. Average yields are forecast at 123.4 bushels per acre, the lowest since 1995. Soybeans have also been hit hard.

Flooding in the Missouri River valley last year was devastating to farmers. This year the rains have been sparse in the Corn Belt. “There are few places in the country that personify the radical whims of Mother Nature as well as the state of Iowa,” the NCIS said in a Monday update on crop conditions.

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