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US: Horrible weather torments Pennsylvania farmers

Heavy rains, flooding and other extreme events kept Pennsylvania farmers from planting on more than 18,500 ha, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Numbers released last week by the USDA confirm what many U.S. farmers already knew — that the weather has made this year the worst planting season on record.

Heavy rainfall, flooding and other adverse events prevented more than 7.85 mln ha acres of crops from being planted across the country and most significantly in the Midwest, which saw a sharp decline in corn, soybean and wheat.

Overall, it’s an increase of nearly 7.1 million prevented plant hectares from this time last year and is the highest number reported since 2007 when the USDA began releasing the report, the agency said. The USDA data released Monday will continue to be updated through January as the season progresses.

Among the hardest-hit states were Ohio, Arkansas, Michigan and Mississippi. In Pennsylvania alone, a total of more than 18,500 ha that normally would be planted with crops are lying fallow this year. That number includes 12,000 ha of corn and 4700 ha of soybeans in fields where farmers were prevented from planting.

Since 1984, Amy and Gary Manoff have planted peaches, nectarines, strawberries, blackberries and 25 varieties of apples on Comfort Road in Plumstead.

In the worst-hit county in Pennsylvania, Venango County, insured farmers were prevented from planting on 15% of the county’s agricultural land.



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