Region 8 Farmers Looking Forward To Good Year

March 18, 2005 – Posted at 5:12 p.m. CST

CRAIGHEAD COUNTY -- With the good weather Region 8 has seen so far this spring, farmers are gearing up for another planting season.

"Everybody just hopes for faithful weather. If we have a moderate summer like we had in the last two years, it will be good," said Steve Culp, Craighead County Extension Agent, "And we are hoping really for a lot more rainfall than we typically get in July and August."

Rain or shine, this year's crops are going to depend on the forecast. The last two years have been good for Region 8 farmers and their crop prices, but Culp says weather could be a big factor this year.

"Three years in a row is not typical, but we'll keep our fingers crossed," said Culp.

But even if there's good weather, the price at the pump could have an impact.

"Overall, I doubt if we'll have more than a two or three percent shift either way," said Culp, "The biggest concern most people have is accelerated fuel prices and fertilizer price, and a lot of people are looking at 25-35% more on their input costs."

And it may be money farmers just have to come up with.

"The bottom line is, there's certain operations, like planting and harvesting you've got to do, even if you are straight no-till," said Culp, "And fuel prices at the farm level are about triple what they were not too many years ago."

Corn has already started going into the ground, but Culp says farmers will get ready to start planting rice in the next two weeks.