Farmers in Iowa are dealing with the harsh reality of damaged crops from the derecho in August during this year’s harvest.
The USDA estimates 850,000 acres across the state have been impacted, which is a 50% higher number than the projections from August.
Harvest season is usually when farmers see their hard work pay off. This year is different.
Joe Dierickx from DeWitt has farmed for 39 years. This year, he lost one-third of his corn yield.
“It’s been a struggle,” he said.
Dierickx’s neighbor and fellow Clinton County farmer Mike Witman said his crops are suffering.
“It’s the worst I’ve ever had it, and the worst I can ever remember growing up as a kid,” he said. “I’d say about 80% of our corn acres have been hit by the derecho.”
The storm left flattened stalks and rotting corn.
“It was heartbreaking to see the damage initially, and now it’s heartbreaking even more to look at this damage,” Dierickx said. “It’s unprecedented damage at an unprecedented time.”
With countless farmers dealing with devastation across the state, Witman knows he is not alone.
“It’s not like it’s just one area. Everybody’s in the same boat,” he said.
Both farmers are managing for now, looking forward to next year and taking it one row at a time.
“2021 will not be like 2020,” Dierickx said.
“Our insurance is gonna keep us going, and we’ll be able to farm another year,” Witman said.