Farmers discuss economic impact of heavy rain with Michigan lawmakers

EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The rain led to late planting earlier this year and will lead to late harvesting and less money this fall. The USDA estimates farmers in Michigan were unable to plant 883,699 acres this year. That’s the worst they've seen since they started tracking prevented planting 12 years ago.

On Tuesday the joint House and Senate Committees on Agriculture heard from the business leaders, educators, and farmers.

Take it from someone like Doug Darling, a Monroe County farmer, whose family has been farming for more than a decade.

“Our farm’s been in the family since 1833 and this is the worst spring we’ve ever experienced. And my father’s 83, he can’t ever remember a spring like this, ” said Darling.

The heavy rain and flooding in Michigan this spring is still affecting hurting farmers. That’s why Darling says he made his way, over an hour to Michigan State to tell state legislators.

“This spring I wasn’t in the field, so I wasn’t doing anything so I was not purchasing parts. I was not calling in for service. That impacts them. As for the seed dealers, they delivered seed. That seed got returned,” said Darling. “The only thing that was growing was mildew on our tractor tires because they were sitting so long and we weren't getting anything done.”

He estimates the impact of the wet weather will last three years and as of now, he’s seven to fourteen days behind schedule.

“For a farm equipment dealer to make money or for a fertilizer dealer to make money or for a seed dealer, a farmer has to be profitable and right now the farmers are having a very difficult time trying to figure out how to not profit but just survive,” said Darling. “The only reason I can sleep at night is that I do carry crop insurance.”

Just how bad the damage continues to be is exactly what State Representative Angela Witwer says she and her fellow committee members needed to hear.

“I hope that with all of the information that we received today that we’re able to get that out to the farmers that we work with and additionally I hope that we hear feedback from the people that came to the meeting and they bring to us what they’d like us to do,” said Witwer.

Darling says he and other farmers like him just wanted the committee to hear them.

“We are eternal optimists but this year has been incredibly trying for the most optimistic of us,” said Darling.

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