Crop insurance will be lifesaver for many area farmers

By Audrey Williams

July 11, 2012 Updated Jul 12, 2012 at 1:31 PM CDT

CENTRAL ILLINOIS -- It's been nearly a month since the Peoria area saw over an inch of rainfall. That lack of rain will have a lasting effect on more than the farming industry.

John Obery farms over 3,000 acres of corn in rural Metamora. He says the extreme heat and drought conditions are devastating his crop. Obery says he averages over 200 bushels per acre. However, this year his harvest could be worse than the last major drought in 1988.

"In 1988 we averaged 68 bushel an acre," said Obery. "Some preliminary estimations on our corn show, I think we'll be under 50."

He says even if we get rain in the coming weeks it is likely too late. "There's only a small window there that you need that good rain, and we missed it."

At least one of Obery's fields is likely to be a total loss, most of the plants haven't pushed up a tassel or an ear shoot, making Mr. Obery all the more thankful he got crop insurance.

"It just gives us the confidence that we're going to at least get our expenses back and sleep at night," he said.

Steve Kiesewetter sells federal crop insurance with Kiesewetter insurance in Farmington. He says they generally don't get a lot of claims, but this year will be an exception.

"It keeps farmers in business so they can raise the grain that feeds America," said Kiesewetter.

The loss from this years crop will have long-term ramifications from the farmer, to the insurance industry and the consumer.

"Higher consumer prices, manufacturers of equipment will hurt because farmers won't have the money to spend. It's just going to hurt everybody," said Obery.

Those long-term effects have yet to be totally felt, but could last for years to come.

"I think that this will be one to remember," said Kiesewetter.