Several days of dry weather finally allowed some farmers to get into their fields, some as early as late last Wednesday. Tractors were busy through Saturday night until rain returned Sunday. Judy Wells/Paulding County Progress
Several days of dry weather finally allowed some farmers to get into their fields, some as early as late last Wednesday. Tractors were busy through Saturday night until rain returned Sunday. Judy Wells/Paulding County Progress
By ANDREA AGLER

Correspondent

For residents living in the Midwest, it is commonplace during the spring and summer months to hear severe storm watches and warnings. In fact, these weather alerts are so routine in this part of the country, they are often ignored. They are seen as an annoyance, or at least an inconvenience. Most people hear them and think they will not personally be affected.

The same holds true for the recent flooding in the area. Although it has been discussed by farmers, many county citizens might feel as though it does not affect them personally. That idea, however, could not be further from the truth.

In order to gain a better understanding of how bad the flooding has been this year, it is important to note the average rainfall for this area. According to the U.S. Climate Data website, Paulding County generally receives approximately 7 inches of rainfall from Feb. 1 through May 31. This year’s number looks vastly different.

For 2019, the county received close to 19 inches of rain in that same 120-day timeframe (National Weather Service, North Webster). That is an increase of 270 percent over the annual average.

Sarah Noggle, agriculture educator for the OSU Extension office in Paulding, provided some other statistics for the county.

There are 622 farms that cover over 219,000 acres. The average farm production for the county ranks 14th out of the 88 counties in the state of Ohio.

When asked how many of the farms have been affected by the continued flooding and wet conditions, Noggle replied without hesitation, “100 percent of the farmers have been adversely affected.”

Marsha Pond, co-owner of Pond Seed Company, spoke about the flooding.

“Today [June 6] is the first day we have been in any field. We started to plan a month ago how to deal with this rain issue,” Pond said. “We brought in numerous truckloads of early corn, pulled in lots of beans and cleaned them so they were ready to be treated and sent out fast to farmers, and worked on equipment.”

Williamson Insurance Agency in Payne, a leading crop insurance specialist, also made special preparations for the flooding.

Rex Williamson, co-owner, explained, “We held seminars on May 20 at nine different locations to explain the different claim options for our local farmers. Most farmers have a policy that will provide some type of indemnity if they cannot produce some type of crop.”

Williamson continued, “The policy provides a preventive type of payment. The final date for corn was June 5. After that, they can still plant it but the coverage decreases 1 percent every day after June 5 until June 25; after that they can file a claim for prevent plant notices of loss. However, they can still plant and withdraw the notice.”

Both Pond and Williamson discussed the many ways this excessive rain has and will affect everyone, not just the farmers.

“There could likely be an increase in meat and dairy prices because a lot of the farms out here have lost their alfalfa. There is no hay, and no silage in the ground,” said Pond.

Due to the lack of silage, feed will either have to be purchased or farms will have to start selling their cattle.

Gas prices also could be affected negatively due to lowered corn production. Up to 40 percent of the corn produced in the United States is processed into fuel or bio-based fibers and plastics.

Local elevators, seed companies, chemical companies, farm equipment dealers and mechanics and truck dealers may be impacted as well. With less product, less personnel may be needed.

“Dairy farms and hog farms will feel the impact of this weather as well. Consumer prices are likely to rise,” said Williamson. “The farming community is in a very difficult position right now.”

Farming is a dwindling profession, with just over 2 million in the United States. It is the eighth most dangerous occupation in America. It is filled with stress, long hours, and those in it are at the mercy of the fates.

With all of the worry and anxious days though, farmers remain steadfast in their determination to do their jobs.

“This community of farmers will do the very best they can to produce a crop for this country. Farmers will do everything they can to get their crop planted – it’s in their nature. It is who they are,” stated Williamson.

There is no doubt the farmers right here in Paulding County are up to the task.