Farmers hope good yield will help them break even - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Farmers hope good yield will help them break even

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FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ill. -- Experts with the USDA predict corn and soybean yields in Illinois will be above average this year. While that sounds like great news, larger yields drive down prices. That, mixed with the trade war with China have farmers hoping to just break even this year. 

There's been favorable conditions with timely rain, but even so, low market prices for corn and soybeans have farmers feeling anxious. News 3 talked with two Franklin County farmers thankful for the good yields to hopefully make up for those low market prices. 

This week, Leon McClerren will wrap up his corn harvest. Despite his fields not seeing as much rain as others, he says the corn looks great. 

"This corn is doing about all it can do for the amount of water it got," explained McClerren. 

The USDA says so far, 69 percent of the corn crop in the state rates as good or excellent. Making Illinois one of the states predicted to have record yields. McClerren says he expects to yield more than his average but says that's a blessing because times are tough. 

"Bottom line is, most farmers would tell you they are probably treading water," said McClerren. 

McClerren explains the above average yields will cushion the blow from the trade war with China. Because of low market rates, he'll get significantly less per bushel, but he's thankful he'll have more bushels to sell and hopes that will allow him to break even. 

Jim Hood says farmers will have the same problem with soybeans. A great crop but low market prices. Hood says prices are so low he doesn't expect to get out of the hole this year. 

"It's getting so ridiculous now. What are they going to do, charge us to take it off our hands?" said Hood.  

Hood says he'd like to tell President Trump just how hard this trade war has hurt farmers because he doesn't believe the President understands. 

"We have got to have farmers, our food does not come from Walmart," said Hood. 

McClerren says all he can do is hope for the best because he knows its out of his hands. 

"We can worry about it all day long, but in the end, God already knows and He's taking care of us," said McClerren. 

Both farmers went into the year hoping to get $4-$5/ bushel of corn and $12-$14/ bushel for soybeans. Right now, corn is selling for $3/bushel and beans are going for $8/bushel. Those prices mean farmers will see a 10 to 15 percent cut in their expected income.

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