Farmers optimistic at end of harvest season

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — For a long time, farmers used Thanksgiving as a marker for when they wanted to be finished with harvest. But with the unpredictable weather this season, many of them tried to finish a lot earlier.

Most of them are. Now they’re all putting the finishing touches on their fields to prepare them for next year. Some say the outcome of this harvest was surprisingly good.

“We wrapped up harvest about three weeks ago,” said Philo farmer Benjamin Rice.

Rice knows it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to farming. That’s why he’s happy to be at the end of this harvest season.

“On our farm, we shoot for, you know, Halloween night being done with field work because you don’t know what it’s gonna be doing after that,” said Rice. “With the weather patterns we’ve been having lately, it seems like that keeps getting earlier.”

While the outcome – or yield – is lower than last year’s past, it’s something farmer Lin Warfel says he can live with because of how prosperous the last 10 years have been.

“About 15% less than average, and the last 10 years, really good average, last two years were really really good, set records, and we’re down from the records,” said Warfel.

Rice’s fields were also down from last year, beans by more than 10 percent, and corn by more than five, but he says that’s much better than he was expecting.

“For the year that we had for planting dates and then rainfall for the summer, we were not expecting very good fields, and we were very blessed with the yields that we did get,” said Rice.

Now the wait begins to see what they’ll make from what they sell, but the waiting game won’t end until next summer.

“International politics get involved in that, particularly in this season, and so what we’re doing in exports has a big impact on our price,” said Warfel.

As we’ve reported in the past, President Trump has offered payments to farmers to offset lower prices. Farmers say Trump has given them two payments so far, which they are grateful for.

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