Farmers under water as Chicago area sees 2nd wettest May on record

DEKALB COUNTY, Ill. (WLS) -- Near-record rain this month may now take an even deeper toll on area farmers as the window to get crops planted is quickly closing.

Usually the crops in the water-logged fields near Somonauk are planted in early May, but thanks to day after day of soaking rains, most farmers have been unable to plant much of anything.

"Ten to 15 percent planted, and normally this time of we are 98 percent planted," said Greg Millburg, with the DeKalb County Farm Bureau.

The rain has been relentless. We have now recorded some rain on 13 of the last 14 day and have received more than 8 inches of total precipitation for the month. This already rates as the second wettest May on record.

Mark Tuttle has been farming his land in DeKalb County for 40 years and has never seen it this bad. Though there is still some time left to plant, the damage is already done.

"We can plant the corn up until the 10th of June without having a major problem, but the yields will be hit. It's not as good as it could be," he said.

Farmers will have a difficult decision to make it the next week or two. Nearly all have some form of government insurance, but that will only cover some of their costs of being unable to plant.

"I look for a lot of these fields not to be planted. In fact, I would say the majority of the acres in this area won't be planted to corn," Tuttle said.

It's not just the farmers that will feel the pain. A lot of collateral businesses will be adversely affected as well.

"If we don't have a crop to sell, I'm not going to go downtown and buy a new combine this year. This thing affects a lot of people, not having a good crop," Tuttle said.
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