Danedri Thompson
The Kansas Department of Agriculture is urging farmers and ranchers to meet with crop insurance appraisers immediately.
Despite a thunderstorm in southwest Johnson County on July 19, drought conditions continue to worsen across the state. The conditions are impacting agricultural production in all of Kansas’ 105 counties, and 91 counties have been approved for emergency haying and grazing of acreage enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program. Gov. Sam Brownback has requested that the U.S. Department of Agriculture issue disaster declarations for 103 of 105 Kansas counties.
According to Rick Miller, Johnson County K-State Research and Extension agriculture and community development agent, area corn is showing signs of distress. Soy crop in the area may be salvaged with a little more rain.
“The soybean, they are still looking very green out there,” Miller said. “Other than seeing a little bit of wilting, they actually look pretty good from the road. But if you actually get out and look at the beans, probably what you’re going to see is those beans are not growing at all, and they’ve not actually producing any kind of seed pods right now.”
Corn and soybeans are the predominant crops in Johnson County. This season, there are approximately 12,000 acres of corn and 21,000 acres of soybeans in the county. Approximately 6,000 acres were used to grow wheat this year.
Crop insurance appraisers can help farmers and ranchers determine how best to manage their drought ravaged crops. Additionally, state officials are working with federal partners to ensure farmers and ranchers have the resources to cope with the drought.
“It is clear this drought is having significant devastating impacts on Kansas agriculture,” Dale Rodman, Kansas Secretary of Agriculture, said.
His department is working with the federal risk management agency to clarify crop insurance rules, which Rodman said in the past have been confusing for producers.
“Rather than dealing with unclear, bureaucratic red tape, farmers and ranchers need to spend their time caring for their crops and livestock,” Rodman said in a press release.
Updated risk management information defines what steps farmers should take if they plan to put their spring-planted crops to another use, including diverting or shutting off irrigation.
Very little irrigation farming occurs in the eastern third of Kansas, Miller explained.
“Here in Johnson County, there’s probably only a handful of farmers who have that center-pivot irrigation. Probably 98 or 99 percent of our crops are dry-land farming,” he said. “We’re really counting on Mother Nature.”