Stateline farmers persevere through dry spell, pandemic challenges


FREEPORT, Ill. (WTVO) — After spells of unpredictable weather and COVID-19 complications, local farmers have been put through the ringer in 2020.

“Everybody would tell you that right now, we really would like these scattered clouds to bring us some rain,” said Stephenson County Farm Bureau President Steve Fricke.

A smoldering start to July has Stateline farmers longing for the days of spring showers. But, despite the simmering heat, crops in Stephenson County are still poking through dry soil.
Fricke says the best yield relies on a balancing act at the hands of Mother Nature.

“If we could just have an inch of rain week, we would just be happy, but we don’t always get that,” said Fricke. “We do need heat, and we need humidity to make it grow, but corn does best if it’s 86 degrees or less.”

Fricke says forecasted showers are welcomed, and could be the push farmers need to continue this year’s upward trend following setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic mixed with a disappointing 2019 season.

“As long as we have the timely rains, we can have a great crop,” said Fricke. “The thing that’s concerning to us is that there’s corn in my bins that we would like to have sold that we don’t even have priced yet because the prices didn’t get to our goals.”

Fricke says farmers continue to push forward, with hope that crop sales will increase as the country begins to reopen.

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