Nearly 19 million acres of American farmland went unplanted this year after intense rain and floods soaked much of the country. Farmers expect the effects of this year's volatile weather to stretch into next year.
Last year was the wettest on record for the United States and flooded towns got much attention in the spring, but farm statistics show longer-lasting effects.
And the rain is not just intense, but comes at inopportune times, said Dennis Todey, the director of the Agriculture Department’s climate hub in Ames, Iowa. Rains are falling hard not in the middle of the growing season, when it could be of the most use, but in the spring and fall, “exactly the time we don’t want more water on our cropland.”
Dr. Irwin estimated that at least five million acres were planted under risky conditions. “It turned out to be a really bad bet,” he said.
But it is adding to the financial squeeze on many farmers. Farm bankruptcies were already increasing, with filings in the year ending in
Financial woes translate into psychological stress for many in the agricultural community.
For many farmers, the troubles of this year are likely to stretch into the next. Mr. McDougall, the North Dakota farmer, said the poor conditions in his area had kept him and his neighbors from much of the fall work that prepares the fields for spring planting. That will mean “round-the-clock work” in a few months if conditions are favorable.Read more: The New York Times
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