Farming is a worldwide market and situations in other regions can have an effect on farming in the United States.
Right now, Hardin County farmer Larry Thomas said, prices are good for grain crops which should encourage more planted acres worldwide.
“Most of the Midwest is abnormally dry to extremely dry,” he said. “At the end of March, 38% of the United States was in severe drought.”
Those weather conditions can hurt the wheat crop and will reduce yields in the United States, he said.
Thomas said South America is another major producer of agriculture products and the region has experienced severe drought in the last three months, causing lower yields.
“They are generally harvesting while we are planting,” he said.
Droughts in southern and central Africa as well as India also create a tight supply of grain in the world market, he said.
The war in Ukraine also impacts farm prices. Ukraine, he said, is a major wheat exporter and right now it’s not known how much wheat will be harvested and exported because of those uncertainties.
As far as production, Thomas said Ukraine is comparable to Iowa, Illinois and Indiana combined.
According to the United State Department of Agriculture figures, Ukraine is one of the world’s top agricultural producers and exporters and plays a critical role in supplying oilseeds and grains to the global market.
More than 55% of Ukraine’s land area is farmable and agriculture employees 14% of Ukraine’s population.
The USDA analysis said that agricultural products are Ukraine’s most important exports. In fact, in 2021, the country totaled $27.8 billion in agricultural exports, accounting for 41% of the country’s $68 billion in overall exports.
While the United States allows it, the Ukraine is 100% non-GMO in their grain product, Hardin County farmer Patrick Preston said. That may result in less non-GMO grain in the marketplace this year because of the war there, he said.
In this area, a lot of what you see in the field doesn’t go into food for human consumption, he said, adding it often is used for ethanol and other products. Before Russia invaded Ukraine, Preston began increasing the production of non-GMO soybeans, a lot of which is exported to Japan, he said.
From what he understands, Ukraine farmers still are producing some things, maybe not at 100% but still producing.
“Farmers are a pretty resilient bunch and a farmer is going to plant a crop,” he said.
This is a difficult year for area farmers to ramp up production because of input costs, he said. While Preston and others are doing the minimum in terms of crop maintenance, it’s still a strain. And like everyone else, they feel the pinch at the gas pumps with diesel costs.
“We’re just trying to be as timely as possible and trying to the best job the first time through as we can,” he said.
Like all years, a good crop season depends on the weather, he said.
“Farmers try to do their best every year regardless,” he said.