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Excessive rain is costing Indiana farmers, could soon cost consumers

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Posted at 5:13 PM, Jun 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-20 17:17:09-04

PUTNAM CO. — The rain keeps pounding Central Indiana, and it's causing significant problems for farmers.

In a viral post showing the issue farmers all across Indiana are dealing with, you can see the tall corn stalks last year at this time, compared to the barely sprouting stems this year in Putnam County.

Corn and soybean farmers are taking a hit.

"I'm 80, and this is the worst I've ever seen," Gene Pruitt, an Indiana farmer, said. "It's been a struggle. We can't get two to three days in a row. We get one or two, and then it rains again."

Even tiles for drainage aren't working.

"If it's reasonably dry with two inches of rain, it can handle it, but as soon as it fills up three or four times, you're going to lose whatever is in that spot," Pruitt said.

Agriculture economist, Jayson Lusk, says the weather has pushed up corn prices by about 20 percent over the past month.

"It doesn't matter what the prices is; you have to have something to sell," Pruitt said. "If corn is $5 to $6 a bushel and you don't have any it doesn't make a difference."

And these fields need to dry up soon, not only for the 94,000 farmers but also for consumers.

"All your food at the grocery store or what have you, it comes from out here," Pruitt said.

Lusk says you may feel a slight effect — a one to three percent price increase at the gas pumps and the grocery store.

At this point, farmers have to figure out do they keep trying to plant corn on their acreage, switch to a different crop, or take the prevent plant payment through insurance.

"We have 1000 acres planted, and we have 800 acres of beans to plant yet," Pruitt said. "So, I'm sure we're not going to make it."

Pruitt, like many farmers, is hoping the sun comes out, and the puddles disappear, so they can get back to doing what they do best.

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