Rain washes out farmers' hope for good growing season

BURLINGTON, KY (FOX19) - All of the Tri-State's recent rain is putting a damper on local farmers' hopes for a good growing season.

Farmers need every day they can to plant. Fewer dry days mean a smaller yield, and that could mean a bigger bite out of your wallet at the grocery store.

Farmer Aaron Anderson sloshes through a field in Kinman Farm in Burlington on Thursday evening. The recent deluge of rain has flooded much of farm's140 acres of land. There's been so much rain lately that the irrigation pond has filled up for the first time in 12 years.

Anderson is in charge of the vegetables on the farm, including: pumpkins, peppers and tomatoes. He said this year, their tomato plants are much shorter and growing much slower.

"We haven't been able to get things planted and then the things that we did plant-- three weeks ago-- they're just way behind," Anderson said. "They're not growing like they should be."

We're told Kinman Farms is looking at a loss of about 20-percent. Fortunately, they have two weapons: a plastic layer that protects the seeds, and greenhouses.

Still, they're just one of many local farms hit hard. Boone County Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources Jerry Brown said he's received several calls from local farmers about the weather.

"It's affecting the farmers because they can't get the fields planted," said Brown. "Normally almost all the crops would be planted at this time of year. We're here almost the first of June and a very small percentage of the crops are planted."

According to the Department of Agriculture, fewer crops are currently being planted in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio. This time last year, 96-percent of the corn crops were planted in Kentucky. This year, 62-percent of corn crops were planted. In Indiana, last year, 88-percent of the corn crops were planted. This year, 49-percent of corn crops have been planted. In Ohio, 87-percent of corn crops were planted. This year that figure is 11-percent.

If customers factor in supply and demand, we're told food prices could jump even higher. Still, Brown said that farmers will absorb most of the costs and be hit the hardest.

"You have to worry about it," said Anderson. "But hopefully things will turn around."

Copyright 2011 FOX19. All Rights Reserved.