South Dakota Farmers Unable to Plant Over 3.8 Million Acres

DELL RAPIDS, S.D.- It’s been a tough year for farmers. They were hit hard this spring by flooding, which caused some fields to be too wet for farmers to plant. According to the USDA, South Dakota farmers were unable to plant nearly four million acres this year, the highest number in the nation.

Michael Schmidt, a third generation farmer in Dell Rapids has been farming for over 40 years. He’s semi-retired now, but he knows what it’s like to have a bad year. 

“Back in the early 80’s, back when a 21 percent interest rate is a real tough deal and we survived that because some neighbors and business people stepped up,” said Schmidt. 

This year Schmidt says he was lucky with his crops, but wants folks to know that that is not the case for many farmers. 

“For some people this is going to be a tough year,” said Schmidt. 

Some corn has been damaged. 

“When it got in, it got in late. So it had plenty of heat to get going and plenty of moisture and just kept on coming and it growing probably too fast and the wind just broke it off right above the ear,” said Schmidt. 

Other farmers didn’t even get that far as over 3.8 million acres of land hasn’t been planted this year in South Dakota.

“This is going to be a challenge this fall as some of these guys go down to their bank and try to figure out where they ended the year and try to plan for next year because there’s going to be some bankers that are going to turn some people down,” said Schmidt.

“There’s people that are going to be struggling that are just going to need a helping hand and an encouraging word probably more than anything.”

Just as others helped Schmidt through his tough years, he’s going to look out for his farming neighbors and asks others to do the same. 

“If you see somebody struggling, you know like not being as outgoing as they were or not being as friendly or not going to church, not going to the coffee shop, reach out to them, talk to them,” said Schmidt.

And for farmers, Schmidt says to stick with it.

“We were down to nothing 40 years ago and survived it and lifes been good.”

Schmidt says the ideal conditions right now are hot humid days for the corn to mature faster. Then for harvest time farmers are hoping for a warmer fall because frost could damage the crops.

 

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