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Faith and Farming

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Nationally the narrative is last year’s farming profits were high. That doesn’t speak to the Hamilton county farmer. With three months left till wheat harvest, where are we at?
We know field to field, it can differ greatly. 
In the southern portion of the county where they haven’t gotten good rains for several years, the 2021 wheat and milo failed. 
The northwest part of the county’s wheat was average and the Milo failed as well.
On Monday winds blew 40 to 50 mph. The drought monitor puts us at severe to extreme drought.
 On Monday Fuel prices are close to $4.00 a gallon and fertilizer and chemical prices are at all time highs. Contracts for farm diesel last year was $2.50 or less a gallon. Right now the contracts are for $4.50.
And while wheat prices are soaring, many farmers already contracted their wheat earlier. 
Last spring glyphosate was priced at $15.00 a gallon and if you can get it the price today is in the low $50s. 
Supply chain issues continue in every sector from 2020. Then a hurricane hit one of the gylphosate production facilities in late summer 2021. At one point cost was up to $75 a gallon before it came back down. 
At that point in the season it would be hard to change up your farm plan, at most you stopped spraying volunteer wheat. Fast forward now at these prices which are more than tripled. Nitrogen fertilizer is up 300%. 
Generally farmers in our county are usually spray pre-emerge to prevent weeds from coming up between wheat harvest and planting of fall crops. 
The alternative for weed control is tillage. For a rough estimate, spraying takes .04 gallons per acre. Tillage takes between .5 and .7 per acre. 
Using the example of a four wheel drive tractor, a 270 gallon tank costs $1215.00 to fill, versus last year at $675. Tires on a sweep are 50% higher. Blades are up 50% up too. Fuel, fertilizer and tillage all cost. 
Chemicals used for farming have inert ingredients that are shipped from overseas making it difficult to finish the products. Or the product is sitting on a ship somewhere. 
Some speculate a factor in the skyrocketing prices is that the manufacturers are taking a bigger cut due to higher crop prices. 
If you have farmed for any length of time you made investments in equipment and land and all have payments. If you don’t plant anything you don’t have income. Land sitting idle isn’t an option. 
And some are choosing to not put as much fertilizer down. 
Interest rates have stayed steady for a number of years. However this year as inflation pressures the economy the rates are expected to rise. 
With such a bleak outlook what keeps farmers going? Hope for rain?. Off the farm jobs?
For Darrin DeWitt it’s the love of doing it and being good stewards of the land. 
DeWitt said, “Despite the high chemical prices, we are spraying more. We have to keep as much of the ground covered as we can.  So when those good rains come it is very fulfilling. Whatever rains come we can hold on to the moisture.
Driving around, DeWitt commented, “Anything planted north of Road 31 still has hope. South of 31 didn’t come up or is done.” 
Chase Keller said, “With the increasing prices of inputs and the lack of moisture in our area, I think it’s very hard for every farmer and rancher to stay optimistic right now. I try to make the most sound decisions for my operations and that’s really all anyone can do. The rest is up to Mother Nature.“
Kandice Westeman summed up her feelings, “I was told when I started, farming is not an easy lifestyle…it’s very stressful and you’ll never be rich. There will be many years you think it will be your last, but then miraculously you’ll have a great year. I probably won’t ever be financially “rich” but the experiences and knowledge are worth something. This year is very challenging with the lack of moisture, poor availability, high price of chemicals, expensive fuel, and other inputs. To honestly answer your question, my answer would be faith over fear, the Lord will provide when and where it’s needed. He has guided me through many desperate and difficult times. This is just another year that’s a bit more testing. 
 Every day is one day closer to a rain, right?
In brighter news, The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on Sunday that it will support additional fertilizer production for American farmers to address rising costs and spur competition. USDA will make available $250 million through a new grant program this summer to support independent, innovative and sustainable American fertilizer production to supply American farmers. Additionally, to address growing competition concerns in the agricultural supply chain, USDA will launch a public inquiry seeking information regarding seeds and agricultural inputs, fertilizer, and retail markets.
The United States is a major importer and dependent on foreign fertilizer and is the second or third top importer for each of the three major components of fertilizer. The top producers of the major components of fertilizer include China, Russia, Canada and Morocco, with Belarus also providing a significant share of potash.
USDA will use funds from the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) set aside in September for market disruptions to develop a grant program that provides ‘gap’ financing to bring new, independent domestic production capacity on-line—similar to the recently announced meat and poultry grants that are designed to promote competition and resilience in that sector.
The new program will support fertilizer production that is:
    Independent – outside the dominant fertilizer suppliers, increasing competition in a concentrated market;
    Made in America – produced in the United States by domestic companies, creating good-paying jobs at home and reducing the reliance on potentially unstable or inconsistent foreign supplies;
    Innovative –improve upon fertilizer production methods to jump start the next generation of fertilizers;
    Sustainable – reduces the greenhouse gas impact of transportation, production, and use through renewable energy sources, feedstocks, formulations, and incentivizing greater precision in fertilizer use;
    Farmer-focused – like other Commodity Credit Corporation investments, a driving factor will be providing support and opportunities for U.S. agriculture commodity producers.
Details on the application process will be announced in the summer of 2022, with the first awards expected before the end of 2022.

NEWS

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EMS OPEN HOUSE TONIGHT

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CROP PERIL CONTINUES

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Busy Weekend in Syracuse

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New Radiologist at Hm Co Hospital

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USDA Designates 45 Kansas Counties as Primary Natural Disaster Area

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LOCAL FAMILY HEADS UP EASTER WEEKEND RZR FEST

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KDHE Supports Quitting Tobacco with Free Nicotine Replacement Therapies

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OPINIONS

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I Will Boast of My Weaknesses

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Ride the Waves

I have been thinking about how I want my daughter to live this life. I want her to pursue her passions and be herself regardless of others opinions. But I also want her able to ride the waves of the world easier than I have.  My husband has that even temper I want for her.... [More]

Staying In My Lane

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I Forgot!

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The brokenness in me honors the brokenness in you

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Obstacles In My Way

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Give Me Five!

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SPORTS

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LADY BULLDOGS BORDER WARS CHAMPIONS!!

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JH Basketball Season Underway with JH Boys sweeping Lakin

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Senior Night Volleyball

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HS Track

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SHS SPORTS WRAP UP

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Spring Sports Start

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OBITUARIES

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Delores LaJean Lindsey

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Manuel Juarez

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Leann Cook

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Frederick Joseph Dorenkamp

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MARTHA ELIZABETH KRATZ

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Capt. Leroy A. Farr, USN, Ret

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Ty Frank Fullmer

Ty Frank Fullmer, 36, passed into eternal life in a tragic car accident on March 24th, 2022. Syracuse was his home for the past 9 years as he served as the Chief Operations Manager at Fullmer Cattle Company. Ty was the 7th child of 10 born to Que and Debora Fullmer. Ty’s... [More]

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Rick Allen Hayes

Rick Allen Hayes, age 66, of Syracuse, Kansas, died March 27, 2022, at Stanton County Hospital in Johnson.  He was born on November 26, 1955, in Wichita, Kansas, the son of William Allen and Betty Lou (Jobe) Hayes.   Rick grew up in Manter and Johnson.  After... [More]

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