Stress from tough year for Michigan farmers needs to be addressed, says one farm group | Michigan Radio
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Stress from tough year for Michigan farmers needs to be addressed, says one farm group

Nov 12, 2019

Credit Weldemar Brandt / Unsplash

This has been a hard year for Michigan farmers, and more attention needs to be paid to farmers' emotional well-being, according to Jim Zook, executive director of the Michigan Corn Growers Association.

"Nobody has seen a year that has dealt with so many challenges that we've seen with the weather, the markets, the trade, the politics," said Zook. "All of that together has gelled to have quite a storm."

Michigan farmers have been struggling this year because of volatile weather and markets. 

According to Zook, some corn growers will not be able to go on for another year and will have to sell.

He said the Michigan Corn Growers Association is putting together programs to provide emotional support for farmers.

"The biggest thing is we just want to make sure that families will stay together through this challenging time," said Zook. "And that farmers will, if they're really feeling down or feeling like they're being closed in on, that they get help and talk to people to help them through this situation."

Zook said planting was delayed in the spring because of cold, wet weather.

"We didn't get as many acres planted as what we'd hoped," said Zook. "And so there was a number of acres that sat idle this year."

Zook said he's hopeful this week's snow will melt. If it does, he said the farmers will still be able to harvest the corn.

But he says if the snow melts, they then need cold temperatures to freeze the ground so the ground can support the weight of heavy harvesting equipment for the corn.

"The challenge will come in soybean harvest because they are lower to the ground," said Zook. "And if that snow is up on the bean pods, they won't be able to get those."

This has been a hard year for Michigan farmers, and more attention needs to be paid to farmers' emotional well-being, according to Jim Zook, executive director of the Michigan Corn Growers Association.

"Nobody has seen a year that has dealt with so many challenges that we've seen with the weather, the markets, the trade, the politics," said Zook. "All of that together has gelled to have quite a storm."

Michigan farmers have been struggling this year because of volatile weather and markets.