Kansas Farmers Less Profitable This Year

By: Lily Wu - Email
By: Lily Wu - Email

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Lack of rain this past year has hurt many farmers' bottom line but some said recent moisture is helping Kansas crops.

"It makes next year's crop go into the full winter a little bit better. The downside is it's too late to help everything this year," said Mick Rausch, farmer near Garden Plain.

It has been a challenging year for some farmers in Kansas, mostly due to the lack of rain. Rausch could not take advantage of higher commodity prices like those in Missouri.

"For those farmers, I'm glad that they're actually making a profit. For us and in this part of the country, it's depressing. You wonder what you did wrong but there's nothing you can do about it. I mean, you can't make it rain," said Rausch.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said farm profits are expected to spike to 28 percent this year to $100.9 billion, but that is not the story in Kansas.

"If you don't have much to sell, it doesn't matter how much it's selling for. The drought actually cost Kansas producers a little bit over $1.7 billion in crop loss, and that's looking at your main crops in Kansas," said Chelsea Good, communications director for the Kansas Department of Agriculture.

Some farmers were able to avoid hitting the red with crop insurance.

"I was able to come out in the black, a little bit, because most guys in the area here, the last several years, have done okay with the yield. There was a decent yield history. So, it's not near what it could've been," said Kent Winter, farmer in Andale.

Farmers have planted their winter crop and hope that the rain will help them have a better yield next year.

"What it has done is bought us some time to where the wheat crop can make it through the winter now. Hopefully, we'll pick up some more moisture that will go a long way toward recharging the subsoil moisture," said Winter.

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