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While farm bankruptcies around the country are rising, Ohio’s rate is still the lowest in the Midwest. 

Gov. Mike DeWine talks to farmer Kris Swartz in Perrysburg on June 19, 2019.
Nick Evans / WOSU

Across the nation, farmers were kept from planting almost 10 times as many acres this year as they were in 2018. 

Cows owned by Christian Hoffman at his farm just south of Columbus.
Nick Evans / WOSU

While agriculture is the largest industry in Ohio, most residents haven’t lived on a farm for three generations. A new international film festival highlights the importance and contributions of agriculture and its associated industries.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio)
John Minchillo / Associated Press

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) visited the Ohio State Fair over the weekend to mingle with hundreds of farmers from around the state, while news spread that President Donald Trump was moving forward with plans to increase tariffs on Chinese imports. 

If you're caught in a trade war, it's good to be a farmer.

Lots of American companies have lost sales since the Trump administration and China embarked on the current cycle of tariff-raising and retaliation. Few, if any, have been compensated as handsomely as farmers.

Robert Henry is driving along the top of a Mississippi River levee, giving me a tour of land where he'd love to be planting soybeans right now. We're just east of New Madrid, Mo.

"Smells kind of raunchy, doesn't it?" he says.

From the window of Henry's truck, I see what looks like a swamp, with trees standing in water. Then we make a turn, and suddenly, as far as I can see, there's water. It covers a wide flood plain between the main river channel and the levee. This is where Henry normally grows his crops.

Gov. Mike DeWine talks to farmer Kris Swartz in Perrysburg on June 19, 2019.
Nick Evans / WOSU

In Perrysburg on Wednesday, Kris Swartz hosted Gov. Mike DeWine and a couple dozen local famers to explain how badly this spring’s rain has derailed planting. Swartz says this year he’s had only one day—June 12—where he was able to plant.

Record rainfall in Cincinnati is causing a local co-operative farm to re-adjust its harvest plan.

Bret Davis in one of his corn fields. He worries this years slow start could put a ceiling on yields.
Nick Evans / WOSU

The last time I visited Bret Davis' farm in Delaware County, earlier in the spring, I was asking him about a federal program helping farmers bit by the trade war. It was raining then, and it was wet and rainy when I spoke to him this week, too.

Updated at 6:15 p.m. ET

The Trump administration will provide $16 billion in aid to help keep farmers afloat as they reel from the yearlong trade war between the U.S. and China, the latest sign that the world's two largest economies are still far from striking a long-term trade agreement.

The bulk of the support, or about $14.5 billion, is direct aid to farmers, which producers will start to see some time this summer, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told reporters in a briefing on Thursday.

Adam Kocher cuts open a bale of fermented hay, which they grow to feed cows.
Olivia Miltner / WOSU

The Kocher family has been farming the same plat of land near the northern Ohio village of Bloomville for generations. Among other crops, they grow alfalfa hay to feed their 700 dairy cows.

Jeff Weese / Flickr

A dairy farm operated for four generations by one Ohio family is set to run dry.

Tech Tuesday: The Future Of Farmwork And More

Feb 26, 2019

Farmers face labor shortages and the ever growing cost to get food on the shelves. In response, Florida farms are testing robotic farming technology, and the automated farm workers are set to hit the market next year.

But the engineers are still working to perfect this harvesting robot so it doesn’t crush or drop the fruit.

Today on All Sides, farming robots, why Americans aren’t buying groceries online and more. 

tractor in farm field
Jean Beaufort / Public Domain Pictures

The new head of the Ohio Department of Agriculture is traveling around the state, talking to farmers about their needs.

It was a wild ride for Ohio farmers this year. President Trump’s trade war with China cut off exports for many farmers, and it’s affecting their plans for 2019.

After President Trump announced tariffs on Chinese steel this spring, China retaliated with a 25 percent tariff on American soybeans and other agricultural products. Medina County farmer Tom Trout says the export market for soybeans completely dried up and prices dropped.

“You give the market what it wants, and right now it’s telling us it does not want more soybeans,” Trout said.  

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