You might remember sow farmer, Cheryl Walsh, from a few weeks ago when we discussed bio-security on her farm. Walsh doesn’t just raise sows, her family has diversified in the calving operation also.
“Most farms nowadays are generational farmers. It’s great to be able to come back to something my great grandpa started,” Walsh.
Her family also grows corn and soybeans, but rain has made planting impossible. Walsh is thankful that her sow and calving operation help generate more income.
“Farmers are always looking for different ways to supplement income. We’ve had cattle and we’ve had pigs for years so that’s something that wasn’t new to us but I do believe that has helped our family because we have already had the diversification in there,” said Walsh.
Patrick Kirchhofer with the County Farm Bureau explains crop prices keep dropping making it harder to maintain a steady income.
“The price that farmers have been receiving for their corn and their beans has been decreasing the last several years,” said Kirchhofer.
“The last two to three years we have had bumper crops. It’s awesome to have bumper crops but when the price isn’t there it’s not a big deal,” said Walsh.
With farmers taking a loss on crop production this season crop insurance is a backup, but it doesn’t make ends meet for the farmer. Kirchhofer said the farm and commodity programs only account for sixteen percent of the whole farm bill. He said what consumers don’t realize is over seventy percent goes toward nutrition assistance programs like SNAP.
“For insurance purposes and a safety net for the food supply for consumers we need a farm bill,” said Kirchhofer.
With the fall back on planting, Kirchhofer said farmers need more support than ever. Walsh encourages the community to buy local whether it’s livestock or vegetables to help support local farmers during this tough time.
“There is still a misconception that we don’t need farmers… and they don’t need all of this stuff because they will buy their meat from Kroger and Walmart. There is a big disconnect between the consumer and the actual producers themselves.” said Walsh.
The price for crop insurance varies for each farmer based on acreage and specialty. Some of it is subsidized through the government but they still have to pay a percentage of that premium.