Rain, flooding disrupt farm to table pipeline

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Farm fields across Kansas are once again sinking underwater as the rain falls.  To date, only 61% of the Kansas corn crop is planted, compared to the five year average of 80% at this point. Farm fields across Kansas are once again sinking underwater as the rain falls. To date, only 61% of the Kansas corn crop is planted, compared to the five year average of 80% at this point.
Winter wheat is in trouble in many places, as well.  Hail storms damaged some and muddy, flooded fields are damaging much of the rest. Winter wheat is in trouble in many places, as well. Hail storms damaged some and muddy, flooded fields are damaging much of the rest.
BELLE PLAINE, Kan. (KAKE) -

"We're kind of back to square one with all of the rain we had a couple weeks ago," Doug Hisken said Monday.

He sits in his living room near Belle Plaine as rain pounds down on the roof and the fields surrounding his home.

All this rain could mean higher grocery prices for you along with financial hard times for Kansas farmers like Hisken, many of whom are already struggling after years of low grain prices.

This week's rain  was the last thing Hisken wanted to see. 

"All of the low areas are filling up again with water," he said.

His land was just starting to dry out after getting 14 inches of rain a couple weeks ago.  Now, it's drenched again.

"It really is an interruption, a big interruption to what we're doing here," he said.

He's had to re-seed his corn once already,.may still lose these new plants, too, and hasn't even begun to put in this year's soybeans or cotton.

"When you get half of your annual rainfall in a two week period, it just really interrupts everything that you need to do."

He's not alone.  The USDA announced Monday that nationwide farmers are behind in planting corn, soybeans, and wheat compared to where they normally are at this time of year.  In Kansas, they've planted only 61% of the corn for the year, down from the five year average of 80% at his point.  Only 17% of Kansas soybeans are in the ground, compared to the five year average of 29%.

"So how quickly do you need things to dry out in order to get back on track?" KAKE's Pilar Pedraza asked.

"Oh, about two weeks ago," Hisken said.  "So, right now."

Then, there's the wheat crop.  On Hisken's farm what wasn't damaged in a hail storm earlier this year is now dying, slowly.

"The wheat's deteriorating with all the high water," he explained.

Even once the rain stops, the ground will stay muddy for quite some time and all that water in the ground is stealing oxygen away from the plants, starving them.

"It really interferes with the whole profit cycle for the operation here," he said.

Not to mention your pocketbook.  With a growing likelihood these main food crops will almost disappear this year, analysts are predicting a jump in grocery stores prices in the next few months.

Hisken is using his rain delay to figure out what to do if he can't get back into the fields quickly.  He says the need to be flexible is what farming is all about.

"It's certainly challenging and unnerving here.  But our business has been about doing this next year.  You can't just give up because it's inconvenient or unhandy or discouraging right now.  It's about how we're going to get to next year.  This business is a long-term thing,  It's a lifetime thing here.  You can't just throw in the towel here because it's not good this time," Hisken adds.