A new report from the USDA said 19 million acres of crops across the country went unplanted this year. That’s over 17 million more than last year, and some of that land is right here in the Tri-States.
The report is talking about fields that were wet due to flooding or just a generally rainy spring that prevented farmers from putting in crops.
It said over 70% of that farmland is in the Midwest, where that wet spring meant farmers couldn’t plant things like beans, corn, or wheat. To help combat the issue, the USDA is encouraging farmers to plant cover crops, something Marion County Farm Bureau President Joe Kendrick said can help keep fields ready for the future.
“It keeps something on that ground, keeps it covered, helps from an erosion standpoint, and then it’ll also offer an opportunity to maybe get ahead with some forage and stuff that they’ve been shy of for the past couple of years,” said Kendrick.
To help farmers have more time to plan cover crops, the deadline for assistance with planting was extended until later in the season. Kendrick said the cover crops can be used as feed livestock, something there’s been a shortage of in some areas recently.
The report said this year marks the record for most unplanted acreage since the USDA began reporting that figure in 2007.