By Dusty Sonnenberg, Field Leader
The extensive prevented planting acres in Ohio and limited yield potential for many acres of late-planted crops have generated plenty of discussion about the impact to farmers, agribusiness, and rural communities.
United States Congressman Bob Latta represents the largest farm-income producing district in Ohio and recently participated in a listening session with farmers and agribusiness people in Williams County to learn about the details of the situation.
“Everyone in the chain is going to be impacted, such as the folks that sell the seed, fertilizer, herbicide, equipment parts. There is a whole line of people besides the farmers who will feel the impact,” Latta said. “It is really important that I hear from the farmers. This thing hasn’t really hit hard yet. I think people are going to start to feel it in about two more months. The farmers see it right now.
“I can’t tell you how many calls I have had with the undersecretary of agriculture to explain what’s happening here and keeping him updated, making sure his department was aware of just how bad it really is here in Northwest Ohio. When Williams and Fulton counties were not included on the initial list (of the disaster declaration), we were on the phone immediately, and fortunately we got these two counties declared.”
The listening session with Congressman Latta was held on the farm of Rusty Goebel, a soybean grower from Williams County and board member for the Ohio Soybean Association.
“The things I worry about in our area are businesses, churches, the trickle-down effect,” Goebel said. “We got it set up for [Congressman Latta] to come to our farm shop and just listen to the farmers.”
Goebel is also worried about the mental health of the area farmers and agribusiness people.
“There are a lot of crops that are not going to yield what we typically get, and most of us are not used to not doing anything during harvest. I think the pressure is going to get to some guys — and not just the farmers, but the agribusiness people, and bankers,” Goebel said. “This is going to take two or three years to get worked out. We won’t have as much income, so we will not buy as much, and that hurts everyone.”