“Optimistic” and “farming” are two words that go together to the immediate past president of the National Corn Growers Association.
“Things are tighter than they were, but, overall, we're in pretty good shape,” said Martin Barbre, who farms corn, soybeans, and wheat on some 5,000 acres near Carmi, in southeastern Illinois. “We raised a pretty good crop. We did have some flooding in the river bottoms, but, overall, we're going to have some corn that's going to outweigh it in the hill ground.”
Barbre says insurance will help that situation, too. He lost about 1,100 acres to flood.
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While the rising average age of the farmer, and the reluctance of young people to start up, would be a concern, Barbre says there is a promising trend: “We've seen more people come back into agriculture in the last 10-15 years – into farming – than we've seen in a long time. In my county, there's somewhat a generation missing. Kids didn't come back to the farm.”