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Extreme weather is pummeling the Midwest, and farmers are in deep trouble - The Washington Post

For the past five years, the 18 states that produce the majority of the U.S. corn crop had an average of 90 percent of their fields planted by the end of May, according to data released on Tuesday by the Agriculture Department. At the same point this year, 58 percent of the corn crop is in the ground, the Washington Post reported. The outlook for soybeans is just as dismal, with 29 percent in the ground compared with 66 percent in years past. In individual states, the gap is even more severe. Just 22 percent of the corn crop had been planted as of May 26 in Indiana. Soybeans stood at 11 percent. “Week after week, farmers haven’t been able to get out in the fields to plant corn and soybeans,” said John Newton, chief economist at the American Farm Bureau Federation, noting that this was the worst planting day on record since the USDA began tracking such data in the 1980s. “The frequency of these disasters, I can’t say we’ve experienced anything like this since I’ve been working in agriculture.” From the Rocky Mountains to the Ohio River Valley, millions of Midwesterners have endured unremitting rainfall, hundreds of dangerous tornadoes and debilitating flooding brought on by swollen waterways that are spilling into already saturated grounds — much of it farmland. The Senate voted last week to approve a multibillion-dollar aid package for communities nationwide that have been hit by natural disasters, including those affected by hurricanes in Puerto Rico and the South, wildfires on the West Coast and the flooding that continues to inundate those in the Midwest. The House’s version of the bill is being held up by Republicans who want it to include funding for Trump’s proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The House is expected to vote on the measure next week.

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