The constant beat of rain upon the metal roof of Megan Dwyer’s barn on her rural Illinois farm is an all-too-familiar and unwelcome sound at this time of year.
“We picked up another 8/10ths (2 cm) last night,” she told VOA, competing to be heard over the noise created by the constant downpour on the barn. “We’ve probably picked up another 3 or 4 this morning.”
It has been one of the wettest planting seasons 30-year-old Dwyer has ever experienced.
“Ideally we’d like to be done planted with corn and have a good chunk of our beans in, and we’re maybe 5% planted in total right now,” she said.
And there’s no relief in sight.
One of the wettest 12 months
Continued rainfall across the Midwest extended a trend resulting in one of the wettest 12-month cycles on record in the United States. Prime farmland across the country continues to struggle with flooding and poor conditions for planting, among other issues.
At the end of May, Illinois farmers had about 35% of their crops planted, a dramatic contrast to an average of 95% in past years at the same time.
Dwyer is among many nationwide who have to make a decision soon — plant very late and hope it grows in time. Or, says Dwyer, “You’ve got the prevented plant option, which is where you don’t put a crop in at all.”
The “prevented plant option” is a crop insurance claim payout meant to help farmers deal with the loss of income because of poor planting weather, an option that is rarely used.