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Much Planting Delayed; Farm Bureau in Self-Defeating Cycle

South Dakota farmers still haven’t planted most of what they plan to get into the ground this year. As of Sunday, we had in the ground only 25% of our corn, 6% of our soybeans, and 2% of our sorghum, Nobody has sunflowers in yet. Usually corn is 90% in by Memorial Day weekend, soybeans 64%, and sorghum 36%.

79% of spring wheat and 69% of oats are in, but by the running averages, those crops should be 86% and 87% in, respectively.

South Dakota is well behind even the slow national progress on corn. The eighteen states that produce 92% of America’s corn have only 58% of their corn in the ground, well off the recent 90% progress average:

USDA-NASS, Corn Planted—Selected States, 2019.05.28.
USDA-NASS, Corn Planted—Selected States, 2019.05.28.

Only Ohio and Indiana have made less progress on planting corn. On planting soybeans, South Dakota is in the cellar:

USDA-NASS, Soybeans Planted—Selected States, 2019.05.28.
USDA-NASS, Soybeans Planted—Selected States, 2019.05.28.

South Dakota Farm Bureau President Scott VanderWal says he may only get 50% of his crop in. It’s a good thing so many of the VanderWal’s constituents voted for Trump—now they can ask him for more farm welfare checks:

The South Dakota Farm Bureau is working with leaders at the national level and in Congress on multiple issues, including advocating for more ways for farmers to qualify for the Market Facilitation Program, which assists producers hurt by the trade war.

…”It is very serious. We’re talking about the livelihood of families, a lot of young families with kids who are trying to make a living and get their mortgages paid off and maybe they’ve bought or rented land. It’s going to be very difficult, even with preventive planting payments for them to make it,” VanderWal said [Kelli Volk, “Planting Delays: ‘It Is Very Serious,” KELO-TV, 2019.05.29].

Even without any additional subsidies that farmers can finagle for their weather-related losses, Trump’s farm welfare payments may triple from last year’s payouts. The pending $19.1 billion disaster bill includes $3 billion for farmers, but House Republicans keep blocking it.

Meanwhile, the Farm Bureau says farmers can’t afford to adopt climate-friendly practices that would mitigate the flooding that’s keeping them out of their field:

Reports in 2018 said the American Farm Bureau Federation, a nonprofit that lobbies for agricultural interests, has cultivated an agenda in collaboration with fossil fuel organizations that opposes climate policy.

American Farm Bureau Federation Policy Communications Director Will Rodger said farmers oppose industry-wide climate-friendly practices due to the “very large” costs.

“We aren’t climate change deniers,” Rodger said. “We don’t really take a position on the science.”

[New York Farm Bureau spokesman Steve] Ammerman said the New York Farm Bureau “doesn’t want to get into a debate of causes” of climate change but supports investing research dollars in climate-friendly practices and working with scientists through a climate-friendly farming program at Cornell University.

“We could bankrupt ourselves if we did everything we could to reduce greenhouse gasses,” Rodger said. The national farm bureau doesn’t oppose greenhouse gas regulations as long as they are financially “sensible and bearable” [Alexis Shanes, “Ex-Ag Secretary: Federal Support for Climate-Friendly Farming ‘Imperative’,” Albany Times Union, 2019.05.27].

Vote for Trump because you hate big government, see markets lost, see climate change cut into production, ask for big government handouts. I’m not sure how that cycle is sensible and bearable.

Related Ratings: South Dakota remains one of 22 states where Trump maintains net positive polling numbers. At Morning Consult’s last published check in April, 53% of South Dakotans approve of Trump, while 43% disapprove. Trump’s net approval is down 11 points since January 2017.

Morning Consult, Trump approval trend in South Dakota, January 2017–April 2019, retrieved 2019.05.30.
Morning Consult, Trump approval trend in South Dakota, January 2017–April 2019, retrieved 2019.05.30.


  1. jerry 2019-05-30 07:37

    kinda makes that hemp thingy look even better with these conditions. Oh well, we shall always have the wall for Gnoemy.

  2. Darin Larson 2019-05-30 08:06

    Cory, One correction to your story: you say, “Usually corn is 57% in by Memorial Day weekend . . .”

    The actual figure is 90%. Normally, SD would have 90% of the corn planted by Memorial Day, but this year SD has only planted 25% of intended corn acres in that time period. This is truly unprecedented.

  3. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-05-30 08:16

    Whoops! Yup—my eye slipped and read the “corn emerged” percentage rather than the “corn planted” percentage in the SD report. I have edited that stat to match the data shown in the state-list chart. Thanks, Darin!

  4. mike from iowa 2019-05-30 08:37

    Some iowa farmers have not got any corn ground worked or corn planted, while across the road or section some farmers have corn and soybeans sprouted.

    Getting late for corn planting. Many farmers will attempt to get earlier maturing corn seeds and there won’t be enough to go around.

  5. Debbo 2019-05-31 00:27

    “American Farm Bureau Federation, a nonprofit that lobbies for agricultural interests”

    Yeah. They don’t lobby for the average family farmer.

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