Amid Disastrous Planting Season, DeWine Urges Farmers To Report Losses

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

“It was not pretty, and I’m not proud of it," Swartz says. "And the bad thing is I have to look at it every day for the rest of the year.”

Swartz rubs his hands together while he talks, as if he’s trying to wash his hands of it.

“Have you ever had a bad year like this?” DeWine asks.

“Not like this,” Swartz says. “We’ve had some years that are tough but not like this.”

Swartz explains his story isn’t unique. He’s heard about similar challenges from friends all over Ohio.

"This is the first year I have not had one of them say, ‘Boy, the crop really went in great, it worked great,’” Swartz explains. “Everybody it's been a struggle. Even if they got it in—if they got it in, it's been a struggle, and if it's a struggle to get in it’s going to be a struggle to be a good yielder.”

Last week, DeWine formally requested a disaster declaration from U.S. Department of Agriculture. To receive that designation, the state must show crop losses of at least 30% at the county level.

DeWine urged farmers to report their losses to their county Farm Services Agency offices. The governor says some kind of federal support should probably be on the table.

"Well, Ohio’s hit bad enough, I think that even if it was only Ohio by itself, I think the Trump administration would have to take a hard look at this,” he says. “But again, I'm not traveled into Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, but it's my understanding that we do see some similar problems."

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