Fall 2018 harvest has been one for history — record low prices, unpredictable weather, global trade issues, and many other factors have resulted in an roller coaster-like fall. That is no different for farmers in Louisiana. They have been hit hard with wet fall conditions for the second year in a row. Last year they were dealing with the remaining factors of Hurricane Harvey, and this year’s bean harvest has been frivolous due to a late, wet fall.
What started out as a productive fall has now caused issues due to timing of late harvest. On top of that, above average yields for surrounding states has resulted in storage issues. It has caused so much of a worry, that U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham wrote a letter Tuesday asking U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to find a way for the USDA to help the farmers. ” [There is] little to no space to take in any additional, locally grown crops. Many of my farmers who have grown late soybeans are being told by elevators that unless the soybeans were previously booked or are of uncommonly superior quality, they cannot and will not accept them. … Farmers must choose between harvesting soybeans with no place to bring them, or letting them rot in the fields,” Abraham wrote.
Louisiana may not be the only state to see storage issues. In Indiana, state agriculture officials said this week that farmers may see storage problems amid forecasts of higher-than-average yields and lingering tariffs from President Donald Trump’s trade disputes with China. To qualify for the tariff relief through the Market Facilitation Program, producers certify crop harvested. To receive payment, you must certify the bushels and can only certify once — so many are hauling straight to the elevator, instead of holding onto it and taking the risk of under certifying bushels.
“We have no home for our soybeans. They’re only taking the least damaged beans and I don’t have a single bushel I can ship or sell,” Acadiana producer Richard Fontenot, a vice president of the Louisiana Farm bureau Federation, told The News Star of Monroe. Fontenot goes on to say he has only harvested 600 acres out of 1,700 acres planted. With no place to go, the fields will rot. Representative Abraham asked Perdue on Tuesday to help farmers find places to store the current harvest until it can be sold.