BEEBE, Ark. – The heavy rain Arkansas has been experiencing can be annoying for some; but for others, it makes all the difference in their way of life.
Excessive rain has led to planting delays in many of Arkansas’ crops, including things like corn, rice, and cotton. For some crops, this means the window of time to plant is closing, forcing farmers to either switch what they plant and how much or prepare for a smaller yield in the fall with possibly lower quality.
Chuck wisdom is no stranger to seasons. Head of the ASU Beebe college farm, he knows how even one small change can affect a harvest.
“They start with a plan hoping that the weather will do what it’s supposed to do,” Wisdom explained. “Once you get up around Stuttgart and northeast Arkansas, they’ve had a lot more rain, they’re really, really behind.”
He predicts soybeans will be the most popular crop this season, replacing corn and rice as farmers react to the delays. But besides excessive rains, other weather phenomena have caused issues; cold snaps halting work, flooding rivers leading farmers to replant, and thunderstorms forcing workers to stay inside.
But not all of Arkansas saw the same storms. In the southeast, Sam Angel II and team with Epstein Land Company have seen less of the rain, able to plant with a slight delay.
“This year, we have been delayed approximately 30 to 40 days,” Angel said. “We’re at 80% planted at this time.”
Angel says the main issue he’s faced is the input cost of planting, growing, and harvesting; fuel and fertilizer prices in particular more than doubled since last year.
Between planting delays and higher input costs, both Angel and Wisdom admit the cost will have to go to consumers in order to save farmers, a higher price for crops in addition to everything made from those crops. For example, corn is often a popular feed for many animals, causing the price of meat and poultry to go up, as well.