In this year of record commodity prices, American farmers, especially commodity growers, were pushing hard for bushel-busting harvests. Then the water poured down. Iowa farmer Dave Timmerman, whose land has been flooded four times in the last month, told the New York Times:
‘In the lean years, we had beautiful crops but they weren’t worth much,’ Mr. Timmerman said, surveying his farm, which his family has tended since his great-great-grandfather. ‘Now, with commodity prices sky high, mother nature is throwing us all these curve balls. I’m 42 years old and these are by far the poorest crops I’ve ever seen.’
Corn should be taking off about now. Instead, Iowa has lost over a million acres. And it’s lost a couple of million acres of soybeans. Iowa officials are calling it the worst agricultural damage in memory, possibly even more devastating than the 1993 floods. And in most of the Midwest—Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Minnesota have been hit hard, too—it is now too late to plant more of either crop. That’s why corn prices hit a record high again after the weekend. Here’s the Chicago Tribune with the bad news you already knew: “It’s too soon to say what the price impact will be, according to analysts, but dramatic production cuts in two key commodities increase the likelihood that consumers will be paying more for milk, meat, bread and poultry. Perhaps a lot more.”
As this water moves downstream, it may inundate yet more land. And the Mississippi isn’t scheduled to crest for days still.