Illinois and Iowa farmers face planting decisions and deadlines

MUSCATINE, Iowa (KWQC) - As crop insurance deadlines approach, farmers in Iowa, Illinois and their agents are having conversations to weigh their options.

Logan Lyon, an Agricultural Insurance Specialist with Lee Insurance Agency in Muscatine says, "From a bottom line standpoint, farmers are struggling, especially with decreased guarantee on their crop, and decreased guarantee on crop insurance."

Lyon says, despite this, farmers remain optimistic.

Although you are not required to ensure your crops, many farmers we spoke with say you should.

Lyon says just last week, he and other insurance agents and crop adjusters held a meeting for farmers at a church in Muscatine.

At that meeting, they addressed questions of those who were unsure of what to expect from their insurance.

Lyon says, in all, more than 185 farmers were present at the meeting.

Many questions that were brought up had to do with plant dates, deadlines, and insurance options after the final planting date.

Lyon says, "A lot of farmers there were pretty uneasy about the situation they're in. Lots of questions because of the dates that crop insurance has differ from what the local FSA, USDA offices require."

Scott Ziegenhorn, a farmer in Illinois says he has managed to get a bit of corn planted, but due to the wet conditions in the fields, has not yet planted any soybeans.

The insurance deadline for planting corn was June 5 in Illinois; May 31 in Iowa.

Approaching soon is the soybean planting deadline for farmers.

An option if farmers do not meet that deadline is prevented plantings and alternative crop options.

What this would mean is producers could plant soybeans instead of corn, but need to make decisions consciously, because any corn herbicides applied to the field could severely damage soybean crops.

Additionally, farmers could choose to partake in the late-planting period, but their crop insurance coverage would decrease by a certain percent, which is an option they would need to weigh with their insurance agents.

The final option for those who have chosen to ensure their crops if they do not meet the deadlines would be to choose an alternative crop option.

If producers are unable to plant corn or soybeans, they are encouraged to consider either planting forage crops or cover crops, which help with managing weeds and keeping the soil healthy to prepare for the possible return of another crop.

On planting crops and meeting deadlines, farmer Scott Ziegenhorn says, "We just got to keep plugging away."