Archive for Friday, July 13, 2012

Local corn crop called a ‘disaster’

Heat, drought blamed for poor turnout

Kent Nunemaker, of Lawrence, foreground, co-owner of Nunemaker-Ross farms, installs new belts on a silage cutter Friday while Lyle Nunemaker, Lawrence, center, and C.J. Bunce, of Perry, repair brakes on a 1978 International truck. Friday’s rain delayed a plan to cut corn for silage but provided an opportunity to do some farm equipment repairs.

Kent Nunemaker, of Lawrence, foreground, co-owner of Nunemaker-Ross farms, installs new belts on a silage cutter Friday while Lyle Nunemaker, Lawrence, center, and C.J. Bunce, of Perry, repair brakes on a 1978 International truck. Friday’s rain delayed a plan to cut corn for silage but provided an opportunity to do some farm equipment repairs.

July 13, 2012


Recent rain has greened up some lawns, but not Pat Ross’ 2,400-acre corn crop. It’s beyond saving.

The rains shut off in June and July, when Ross’ corn needed it most. Ross, of North Lawrence, could only watch out his office window, as storms passed over him and his crop wilted.

“It’s emotionally draining to see them wither and die,” said Ross, of Nunemaker-Ross Farms. “It’s probably the largest loss of crop in the smallest period of time I think I have ever seen.”

According to the National Weather Service, just 0.18 of an inch of rain fell in Lawrence between June 1 and July 12. That’s 5.5 inches less than average. Temperatures in July are supposed to be in the 90s, not 108 degrees.

“It’s devastated it (the corn crop) with the hot, dry temps,” said Matthew Vajnar, Ottawa Co-op grain merchandiser.

Vajnar called the local corn crop a “disaster,” estimating it would yield 0-20 bushels per acre. This is the worst year he has seen since Ottawa Co-op purchased the South Lawrence Co-op elevator in 2001.

This year follows the worst Kansas crop in 29 years, with the state averaging 107 bushels of corn per acre in 2011, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Ross doesn’t plan on harvesting 20 percent of his crop. Instead, he will cut it for silage to feed his 600 cattle. He said he has been fortunate with them. He has only lost three to the heat.

Ross has it bad, and the rest of Kansas hasn’t fared much better.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture declared 82 Kansas counties federal disaster areas because of drought.

“Almost the entire state is seeing significant deterioration of corn and soy beans but also hay and pasture,” said Adrian Polanski, Kansas Farm Service Agency executive director and former Kansas ag secretary. “If it continues another couple of weeks of hot and dry weather, certainly the crops are going to continue to be damaged and have even greater yield loss.”

Polanski said the drought has affected about 150,000 Kansas farmers and land owners. Those in the disaster areas will qualify for emergency government loans.

Douglas County and Ross don’t qualify. He has given up on his corn crop. With crop insurance he may break even. Ross must now put his hope in his 2,200 acres of soybeans, also damaged by the drought. Ross said the recent rains helped the crop, but it needs more precipitation.

So Ross is left again, looking out his office window for rain.

“I’m an optimist,” he said. “I think about all farmers are. I keep saying it will come, it will come.”


George Lippencott 1 year, 9 months ago

Can anyone provide a short summary on how crop insurance plays. The coirn becomes silage, the farmer gets paid somthing for the loss. Does that mean a payment representative of what would have been earned or a paynent covering just costs accumulated??


mikekt 1 year, 9 months ago

I had a neighbor in O.P., who was the son of one of those impoverished Kansas farmers, who's father left his son a farm that was liquidated for 7 million bucks! Poor struggling farmer them?!

Hey, when there is little to no risk of crop loss breaking you & forcing you to sell off some of your land ( like any other business that takes a risk ).... or property taxes to pay on the land that you accumulate ( that will never finance local schools & services ),..........? do you think happens?!

They get rich & others pay for the Federal & State systems that reward them & their heirs.

Don't mind others getting rich if they can "game the system"! After all, that's the "Merican Way"!

What i don't like is their self serving / self righteous right-wing-nut-political-attitudes about the rest of us, who provide them with government sponsored job security, tax welfare & inheritance schemes!

If the reader is some farmer right-wing-nut;....Well,.... this is what it sounds like to have to listen to people who consider you to be the next version of "welfare mother", that you all like to whine about so much, in your right-wing-nut-rants....... & it isn't fun,.... is it?!

I'm tired of our state politics where the rural pot calls the city kettle.... black, ....all of the time


Steve Jacob 1 year, 9 months ago

On the world scale, this drought is big. Corn all over the world was looking bad, but the US was going to make up for it. Other repercussions include cattle being sent to market sooner/smaller because the high feed prices and high beef prices down the road.


Alceste 1 year, 9 months ago

Read it and many pieces of property held by an impoverished fool....


RETICENT_IRREVERENT 1 year, 9 months ago

Quick, grab your pitchforks and torches!


JackMcKee 1 year, 9 months ago

I'll bet you they pay less in property taxes on that $10 million dollar farmland than the average 2000 sq ft house in Lawrence.


catfishturkeyhunter 1 year, 9 months ago

Man, to hear some of you guys tell it, the farmers are out there rolling in a $250,000 Bently, living in a two million dollar house, with a sea side winter home in Miami Florida complete with a 40 foot yaht.

I would encourage some of you moron desk jockeys who like statistics to go spend a month with a farmer and see for yourselves just how easy that life is, working cattle, milking them, cutting hay, moving and throwing hay, installing and repairing miles of fence, working on equipment that could easily take your hand off or crush you, working the same ground 3-4 times a year, cutting and planting crops and doing it while working around mother natures scheadule, enduring the most extream heat and cold temps from one year to the next, inconsistant fuel prices, constantly patching up and repairing equipment, working 12-15 hours a day, and the list goes on.

Man farming is so dang easy and the money is so good, who wouldn't want to be a farmer? I think everybody should be a farmer its so easy.

I know quite a few farmers in Franklin and Douglas Conty and they are the hardest working individuals I have ever met. I will never forget the day a year or so back that I stopped to talk to one of them who is 80 years old and he was unloading a pallet of 50 pound bags of corn seed like it was nothing. Farming is hard work and all the farmers I know have my respect.


mikekt 1 year, 9 months ago

According to Feed The Children, an American based aid organization that provides food to Americas' starving poor, the largest racial group dealing with starvation in America, is not urban blacks,..... but poor rural whites! Does that Challenge a myth or two?

Considering the nature of "right-wing-nut-rural-politics",.... that is believable!

Of course, the rural farm right-wing-nuts would have us believe that all of Americas social ills have come to us thanks to the poor & minorities, who are congregated in it's largest cities.........Right?!

They don't make meth or moon shine down on the farm,..... or grow weed?.....Right?!

I don't hate farmers..... but some of them act like middle eastern religious nuts with their "psycho-religious-politics-of-divine-entitlement", in a world populated by others, whom they believe that they have the divine rights, to treat like religious infidels.... or sheer dummies & "City Rubes," that they fool with their feigned religious piety!


cra99 1 year, 9 months ago

At least these people are working hard

To set record straight note enormous growth of Food stamps: Food stamp usage is at record levels according to the New York Times, with one in eight Americans now receiving benefits. The dramatic rise in spending for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as the Food Stamp program until 2008 when Congress changed its name to sound more palatable.-appproximately 40 billion annually beginning of 2009 to almost 75 billion end of 2011


Alceste 1 year, 9 months ago

davidmcg1 note above:

"....guess where most of the aid goes? It goes to subsidize that lunch your city and rural kids are eating at school and most of the rest goes to the SNAP card system (food stamps)......".

Utter nonsense. The SNAP (AKA: Foodstamp Program) is NOT set up to help poor people eat! It's set up part and parcel with price supports and price subsidies to phat cat farmers! If the SNAP (AKA: Foodstamp Program) stopped today, trust me, poor people'd find a way to eat....even if it meant hitting people over the head with a lead pipe......; however, were the USDA subsidy system to stop today, these WELFARE recipient "farmers" would begin to understand the meaning of loss.

Top it all off.....In 2000, Congress prohibited public disclosure of the names of farmers who receive subsidized crop insurance, a program that has quadrupled in size since 2002, to $9 billion last year. The Congressional Budget Office projected the program will cost $90 billion in the next decade. The cost to taxpayers of the current crop insurance system has soared from $2.4 billion in 2001 to nearly $9 billion in 2011 as a result of high commodity prices and the generous premium subsidies that lead farmers to buy the most expensive insurance available.The Congressional Budget Office predicts that taxpayers will spend $90 billion over the next ten years on the highly subsidized insurance program – far more than $66 billion the CBO predicts will be spent on traditional farm subsidies.

From a July 10, 2012 article:

On the same day that the House will vote to end health insurance subsidies for low income Americans, the House Agriculture Committee will vote to increase crop insurance subsidies for the largest and most profitable mega farms – and will cut nutrition assistance programs to pay for it.

Many of the same House Agriculture Committee members who will vote tomorrow (Wednesday) on a proposal to increase crop insurance subsidies voted against the Affordable Care Act in 2009, including Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN). Other members of the House Agriculture Committee who are expected to support unlimited insurance subsidies for corn and cotton farmers tomorrow but voted against health insurance subsidies for low income Americans in 2009 include Reps. Tim Holden (D-PA), Larry Kissell (D-NC), and Mike McIntyre (D-NC), as well as Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Tim Johnson (R-IL), Steve King (R-IA), Randy Neugebauer (R-TX), Michael Conaway (R-TX), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), Jean Schmidt (R-OH), Glenn Thompson (R-PA), and Thomas J. Rooney (R-FL).

Unlike the health insurance subsidies included in the Affordable Care Act, crop insurance subsidies are not subject to any limits on who can receive subsidies or the amount they can receive......Roughly 30,000 policyholders collected 42 percent of all premium subsidies in 2011. is the source


Alceste 1 year, 9 months ago

davidmcg writes above: "Then don't drive a car. The gas has corn in it....."

Not by my choosing the farmers lobby had our wonderful legislature passed a law a few years back that permits gas stations to sell gasohol without telling you, provided the amount of corn alcohol is 10% or less. Who wants it or needs it? It's been proven time and again that corn ethanol costs more to produce than it delivers in energy. Of couse what few know is that the very "farmers" who grow the crud also own the local ethanol producing plants around these here parts. They done got a good racket and suckered the American and Kansas public big time. WELFARE. Follow that dollar.....find the hack hick.


FlintlockRifle 1 year, 9 months ago

Hey farmer Jack, if you worked on a farm once, you know wery well you don't raise the same crop on same piece of ground each year, called rotation. The valley is some of the best ground to grow anything, long as the normal amount of rain come each year. Farming is still hard work even with the modern equipment most farmers have , but you still have to maintain it fuel, different types of oils,tires, all high dollar, and have the know how to make repairs to every thing yourself,.with your car you have a idea how much it cost to keep it well maintained, let alone a fleet of equipment.


sourpuss 1 year, 9 months ago

Doesn't matter as long as they keep voting Republican.


RubyVrooom 1 year, 9 months ago

"According to the National Weather Service, just 0.18 of an inch of rain fell in Lawrence between June 1 and July 12. That’s 5.5 inches less than average."

That's not true. It is showing 1.56 inches in June and we're at 0.58 in July.


mikekt 1 year, 9 months ago

Well, it is ironic to listen to "some" Rural Framer Types bitching about the welfare state mothers & see them backing heartless pseudo-religious "clown" politicians, that always seem to target the poor or disabled anywhere but i guess that they are afraid that if every small business & minor person got the same breaks, as they do from the government, that there would be less for themselves to take, at the expense of others who are out there.

And of course,..... more risk!

I guess that it helps to wrap yourself in God & the Flag when securing a better deal for yourself, than for others, whom you decide, on your own, are less deserving.

I don't hate farmers but i disagree with the right wing policies of some of them, that are just plain hypocritical / "me first & selfish", in the light of day.

There is nothing wrong with a little "TABLE MANNERS" when it comes to the rest of this country who aren't farmers holding land riches!

Well. i guess what do we expect from people who can eat the family pet & think nothing of it?

What would we say to the head of Investment Bank, Goldman Sachs, if he tried to justify an annual bailout of his company because we all bail out farmers who's crops fail annually.

Failed regular banks are routinely taken over by the FDIC and sold to someone else who picks up & pays off the costs of their underinsured accounts, as a part of the deal.

Isn't any business always a risk taking adventure,...... that's what managing a bank or a farm is all about......or even having a life to begin with doing something a military career or a job as an underground coal miner! Risky!

I don't think that it is unfair to remind right wing farmers that the rest of the world is their market & that treating the poor of Kansas as well as they treat the rich, politically, is a good idea, if you are as dependent on the governments good will, as you all obviously are.

And in the mean time the Corps is draining our Kansas Water Reservoirs to ship grain, soy bean, or whatever, in barges down the Mighty Mo., & onto New Orleans, for export.

All in the face of an agricultural disaster!

A couple of more years of this and things could get badly interesting!



gccs14r 1 year, 9 months ago

It's stupid to try to grow corn out here. It's a very water-intensive crop, and we don't have enough water as it is.


eugunieum 1 year, 9 months ago

I have worked on a farm some when I was younger. Most of the farmers I worked for had crappy houses, crappy old equipment etc. I worked cattle, hay, milo, and corn, alfalfa, and on a dairy farm. These were all family farms, and they are still out there trying to make a living. From what I saw it wasn't much of a living. A year like this sent their kids to school in old or homemade clothes, and they drove old Ford or Chevy cars. These guys still exist. What about them? Screw them too?


Gotland 1 year, 9 months ago

THe farmers will still get paid. Tails they win, heads you lose. I feeel sorry for the farm laborers that won't have any work though. Land owners are welfare pigs.


Jock Navels 1 year, 9 months ago

such extreme either/or rants from the right....nobody is saying do without corn or corn farmers. I am originally from a corn and cattle farm in Nebraska. But the large corporate family farms of today utilize huge government WELFARE checks. I would think the right would approve of stopping the government support of these "farmers" and let the invisible hand of the free market have full reign in the agriculture industry. No, wait...Monsanto.


reality_check79 1 year, 9 months ago

Wanna complain about farmers??? Ok, stop eating!!! Farmers are underpaid, work 12-16 hour days, and take crap from liberals who don't want to get dirty... Fuel prices, fertilizer prices, equipment all go up and some farmers need the assistance... People take advantage of it but to blame all is irresponsible... Boycott farmers and stop eating, driving, and feeding your pets...


JackMcKee 1 year, 9 months ago

It's hard to feel too sorry for someone with 4,400 acres of good farmland at today's prices.


Alceste 1 year, 9 months ago

Poor ole Nunemaker-ross Inc received payments totaling $1,068,992 from 1995 through 2011 in federal WELFARE payments.....and that don't include the crop insurance subsidies which amount to a tidy little sum. Alceste do think Nunemaker and Ross'll both survive.....and nicely at that.....

Here are the FACTS from :

When is Brownback, Roberts, and Moran going to do something about all these WELFARE recipients?????


Hudson Luce 1 year, 9 months ago

Too bad the local farmers can't legally grow hemp, it would do fine in the current conditions:


riverdrifter 1 year, 9 months ago

Duh. It was all over 10 days ago. Field choppers, silage boxes and silos long-since abandoned are being greased up and drug out of retirement.


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