Soggy fields leave farm­ers with few good an­swers

The News-Times - - NATION/WORLD - — As­so­ci­ated Press

Be­tween the coun­try’s trade dis­pute with China and the seem­ingly end­less storms that have drenched the cen­tral U.S., Iowa farmer Robb Ewoldt has had plenty of time to think about whether it’s too late to plant this sea­son, how much fed­eral aid he might get if he does or whether to skip it al­to­gether and opt for an in­surance pay­ment.

In­stead of driv­ing his trac­tor, he’s driv­ing a truck these days to earn a liv­ing while won­der­ing how long it will be be­fore he can re­turn to his fields.

“Some­times I think, what the heck am I do­ing farm­ing?” he said re­cently by phone while re­turn­ing home af­ter haul­ing a ship­ment of dry ice to Chicago. “When you owe the bank money, you do some pretty crazy stuff.”

Ewoldt is one of thou­sands of Mid­west­ern farm­ers fac­ing such de­ci­sions as they en­dure a spring like no other. It started with poor corn and soy­bean prices fall­ing even fur­ther as the U.S. and China im­posed new tar­iffs, and was com­pounded by tor­ren­tial rain and flood­ing that has made plant­ing im­pos­si­ble and killed off crops that were just start­ing to emerge.

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