Farmers Approaching 2016 with an Abundance of Caution


Past president of the Corn Growers Association of North Carolina and Sampson County farmer, Jay Sullivan says that farmers, while looking forward to the 2016 growing season, are approaching with an abundance of caution:

“2016, there’s a lot of consternation in our area, people are…we’re concerned about starting the crop up, there’s already been a lot of hiccoughs at the end of 2015 that’s going to affect this.  We realize that a lot of the soybean seed production is going to be down, in particular in a lot of the maturity groups that we’re used to planting.

Wheat production we think is down anywhere, probably 20% of the crop…maybe 80% of the crop didn’t get planted, so we’re really concerned about that.  We’re still waiting to hear about tobacco contracts. So, everybody is really on edge right now.”

I can imagine that that is the case.  Peanuts struggled last year, and I understand that there’s some buying stations that are no longer here:

“We’ve been told that, I do not know for certain yet how many, or exactly where all of them are, but that’s going to be worked down pretty soon.  I know that crop is down, too, but I’m not sure about the numbers, yet.”

Nationwide the peanut crop was up, so contracts may be slow, and not at a price that’s going to thrill producers, anyway.

“It may not, but with the same things that everybody went through this fall, with the bad weather and the copious amounts of rain, it might not hurt us as bad as we think.  We hope so anyway.”

So, what else is going on your county?  I understand there’s some tobacco issues as well.

“there are.  We have a….everybody’s in limbo, we don’t know exactly what our tobacco crop holds for us, we don’t know what the contract pounds are going to be.  We were told at Tobacco Day back in December that we thought maybe a poor crop in South America that things might be flat.  But, Graham Boyd said at the last meeting I was in, that China has about 36-38 months worth of supply in inventory, that was not good news for folks that are waiting for a contract to come out.”

Anything you’d like to add, Jay?

“I hope that 2016 is better than 2015, and I hope everybody gets everything that they need and desire.”

Jay Sullivan, Sampson County farmer and past president of the Corn Growers Association of North Carolina'

A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.