In this file:
· Rain, early snows delay U.S. harvest in latest blow to farmers
· Farm bankruptcies reach decade-high levels
Rain, early snows delay U.S. harvest in latest blow to farmers
Julie Ingwersen, Reuters
November 1, 2019
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Excessive rains and an October snowstorm have stalled the harvest in the U.S. grain belt’s northern tier, one more blow to farmers already struggling with the effects of planting delays and a trade war that has pressured commodity prices.
The corn and soybean harvests are especially delayed in North Dakota and Minnesota - precisely the states suffering the most from the U.S.-China trade war due to their reliance on exporting to Asia through West Coast ports.
“It’s bad, I’m not going to lie. We have just been inundated with too much water,” said Daniel Younggren, who grows sugarbeets, soybeans and wheat in Hallock, Minnesota, near the North Dakota border.
In Minnesota, the No. 3 U.S. soybean producer, farmers harvested 62% of their soybeans through Oct. 27, compared with the five-year average of 93%. In North Dakota, the No. 8 soy state, farmers collected just 29% of their soybeans and 6% of their corn as they battle wet conditions that leave the ground too soft to support harvest equipment.
Growers in the United States - the world’s biggest corn supplier and the second-largest soy exporter - expected a late harvest following rains that delayed planting across the Midwest last spring.
But storms struck again this autumn, saturating the Corn Belt’s northern tier at a time when shorter, cooler days limit evaporation. Grand Forks, North Dakota, on the Minnesota border, received 11.6 inches (29.4 cm) of rain from Sept. 1 through Oct. 24, five times the average, the National Weather Service said.
Nationwide, the corn crop was 41% harvested as of Sunday and soybeans were 62% collected, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That is the slowest pace in a decade, and down from the five-year-average of 61% for corn and 78% for soybeans.
As the harvest drags on, farmers already stressed by tight profit margins will likely face extra costs for...
GRAIN QUALITY IN QUESTION ...
Farm bankruptcies reach decade-high levels
By Rhiannon Branch, Brownfield
October 31, 2019
New data from the US Courts shows chapter 12 farm bankruptcies increased 24% in the 12-month period ending September 2019.
American Farm Bureau economist John Newton tells Brownfield there were 580 total filings with 255 in the Midwest – up 13% from year ago levels.
“I think it really signals the financial stress that we have experienced in the farm economy now for several years. We look for the trade aid and crop insurance benefits to hopefully reverse this trend soon.”
Newton says a notable Midwest state is Wisconsin with 48 filings – the highest in the last decade.
“We’ve seen the number of dairy farms that Wisconsin has lost accelerate in recent years and that really coincides with what we are seeing on the bankruptcy front.”
Newton says bankruptcies have been going uphill for a while and have not been this high since 2011, but are nowhere near the level of the 1980’s.
“We have historically low interest rates and the repayment maturity terms are at record highs, so farmers are finding more ways to stretch out that repayment period.”
When looking at the 3rd quarter of 2019, Newton says bankruptcies are starting to stabilize which he calls a glimmer of hope.
The number of chapter 12 bankruptcies in Brownfield states for this 12-month period include:
more, including bankruptcy maps, audio [4:54 min.]