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Farmers feeling the effects of COVID-19

Purdue Agricultural Economist Michael Langemeier said soybean profits are about the same as what was expected before the pandemic, but it may take a while for corn prices to come back up.

Posted: Aug 20, 2020 6:21 PM
Updated: Aug 20, 2020 6:51 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — It's good news and bad news for farmers when it comes to the USDA's most recent crop report.

The COVID-19 pandemic is responsible for the ups and downs in the industry.

"The farming environment is already a kind of dangerous occupation," said Gilbert. "It just makes you kind of take that one more step and think about safety a little bit more."

Greg Gilbert has been farming in Tippecanoe County for 16 years. He never imagined he'd be doing so during a pandemic.

"Your frame of mind is kind of changed," Gilbert explained. "Your work environment. How you go about your work environment."

That includes how to safely farm 4,000 acres of corn and soybeans.

"Each individual had a dedicated tractor," he said. "If you couldn't do a dedicated tractor, you'd disinfect it real good before you utilized the equipment."

COVID-19 has affected more than how Gilbert runs his business. He says a lower demand for corn has affected prices.

"We kind of saw cash corn prices there mid-March around $4 dollars declining to around $3 dollars now," Gilbert explained.

Thirty-five to 40 percent of all corn produced in the United States goes to the ethanol industry.

With Americans driving less due to quarantine, the need for ethanol is down, and it's going to change the way farmers look at growing their business.

"There's going to be less money available to perhaps rent that farm that's next to you or less money available to purchase the land that's next to you," Purdue Agricultural Economist Michael Langemeier explained.

Langemeier said soybean profits are about the same as what was expected before the pandemic, but it may take a while for corn prices to come back up.

"If you have the low prices that's going to perhaps reduce supply next year so the prices can improve next year and the year after," said Langemeier.

That's something Gilbert looks forward too. In the meantime, he's focusing on keeping his staff healthy.

"Just operate with safety as your top priority and everybody goes home at night safe and sound," said Gilbert.

Langemeier said COVID-19 is also impacting livestock, particularly pork. That's due to an increase in production.

He also said there's been an increase in crop exports to other countries.

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 667262

Reported Deaths: 12737
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion913541660
Lake48729891
Allen36175646
Hamilton32489398
St. Joseph30361514
Elkhart25536420
Vanderburgh21343382
Tippecanoe20240205
Johnson16485363
Porter16077281
Hendricks15955302
Clark12079182
Madison11810323
Vigo11699234
Monroe10440164
Delaware9899179
LaPorte9838201
Howard9127203
Kosciusko8600111
Bartholomew7531147
Hancock7471134
Warrick7456153
Floyd7269173
Wayne6661192
Grant6465158
Boone618691
Morgan6135129
Dubois5942112
Dearborn551570
Cass5489100
Marshall5456105
Henry544395
Noble513878
Jackson465967
Shelby463591
Lawrence4197113
Gibson405585
Harrison404065
Clinton397653
Montgomery391984
DeKalb388278
Miami358463
Knox357886
Whitley352438
Huntington350877
Steuben340455
Putnam334660
Wabash333976
Ripley328062
Adams326349
Jasper319343
White298553
Jefferson296574
Daviess286196
Fayette272756
Decatur271688
Greene262680
Posey261732
Wells259175
Scott252150
LaGrange242670
Clay241644
Randolph226577
Spencer219630
Jennings216944
Washington213327
Sullivan203839
Fountain202842
Starke190051
Owen184254
Fulton179937
Jay178828
Carroll176919
Perry174136
Orange171451
Rush165722
Vermillion161543
Franklin160135
Tipton150041
Parke140216
Pike128633
Blackford120727
Pulaski107844
Newton96832
Brown95340
Crawford92613
Benton92513
Martin80314
Warren76014
Switzerland7568
Union67510
Ohio54211
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COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

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