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Well, harvest is complete for the small- and mid-sized farmers in the area. There are still a few large farmers plugging away on corn and soybeans. Most of them will finish around Thanksgiving Day, but there will still be one or two finishing up just ahead of the planter next spring. I know 2019 was a difficult year for many as we all battled Mother Nature. It was a struggle to get crops planted in a timely manner, which left us hustling with a late harvest. Some farmers took advantage of preventative plant and crop insurance and idled acreage that wasn’t dry enough to plant or it became too late.

While some had parked the planter, others continued planting regardless of the calendar or deadlines to certify crops. Some even double-cropped soybeans behind wheat. The challenges continued throughout the summer with one extreme followed by another. Many hayfields took a hit from the hard winter, as yields were much less than normal, plus we experienced a month without rain. High hay prices will remain strong as demand is steadily increasing day by day.

After watching several segments of the I-80 Harvest Tour, and following Facebook posts from friends to the west, I’m thankful for what I have, as so many families have lost everything in the floods, washing away topsoil, livestock and farmsteads, along with generations of memories. As difficult as it is to move on, we must stay strong and lift up one another as giving up is not an option. Each year we are challenged, we can only learn from the past and in some situations hope history doesn’t repeat itself.

I took advantage of early order discounts on inputs going into 2020. I figured every little bit helps. I’m optimistic and looking forward to the next growing season. I would like to rent some additional acreage for alfalfa or row crops, but I know several others my age or even younger are looking to expand, too, but it’s extremely difficult to compete with the large farmers, especially if you are starting from scratch. Hopefully down the road, opportunities will open up.

Our family is happy to host the Indiana State Cornhusking contest again on Oct. 3, 2020. Please continue to follow us in 2020. We will be at: Northern Indiana Power from the Past Farm Toy Show in Winamac on Jan. 19, Marshall County FFA Farm Toy Show and Expo on March 1 in Plymouth and St. Joseph County Ag Days in South Bend April 3-5.

I would like to thank Indiana AgriNews and Editor Jim Henry for allowing me to report From the Fields each week. It has been a pleasure doing so. I have enjoyed the opportunity to meet so many people across the state that look forward to reading our columns. I hope to report for you again in 2020.

This article originally ran on Content Exchange