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Poor farming conditions could lead to higher prices at grocery store

Flooded crops
Poor farming conditions
Posted at 10:48 AM, Jun 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-28 18:27:20-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With flooding and heavy rainfall this year still impacting parts of metro farmland, crop prices could see big increases in the months ahead due to less output.

Joe Attema, who runs a corn and soybean farm in Farley, Missouri, has seen the conditions firsthand.

On Thursday, feet of water continued to overtake the land he depends on to make a living. Frogs went in and out of the pond that brought plenty of sand and submerged countless stalks of corn.

His father, a longtime farmer, estimated that of the 4,000 acres in the levee district, only around 150 acres were planted.

“All the water that comes down with the rainfall runs out of the hills and accumulates in the bottoms,” Attema said. “On our farm alone, we’re roughly 30% planted.”

On top of the small planting numbers this year, Attema estimated that only around half the crops he has grown are in good condition.

With the conditions showing no signs of improving soon, he said this year has brought all sorts of issues.

“You never have a break,” he said. “There is crop insurance. There are safety nets around. That still doesn’t make you whole again.”

As many other farmers deal with similar conditions around the region, Attema said the smaller output this year could end up impacting things months down the road.

“Come next year, there won’t be any grain to be sold,” he said. “That’s when you really start feeling the impact of events like this.”

Inside Jason Britt’s office in West Bottoms, the challenges on the farm can be seen in crop prices.

After 25 years in the commodities business, Britt said he has never seen a year like this one.

“It’s almost worse than 1993 in some cases,” he said. “A lot of times you feel like it’s localized. This year it’s nationwide.”

Despite corn prices only seeing a small increase so far, Britt said things could change if conditions get any worse this summer.

“Drought could blow the top off this thing,” he said. “If we have this same forecast for two weeks then you could really see corn go.”

Britt paid close attention to a USDA report released on Friday dealing with acreage impacted by poor conditions this year, like flooding.

With farmers continuing to navigate through challenging times, he told 41 Action News that the situation could end up eventually impacting the price of other goods.

“When you have higher feed prices, figure into the equation that it’s going to relate over to higher meat prices,” he said.

Britt emphasized that it could take months for people to notice the possible price increases at the grocery store.

Moving forward, farmers such as Joe Attema hope for better days ahead.

“You just keep trying and fighting,” he said. “You just try and be around for next year.”