HARDIN COUNTY — According to the USDA, at the end of January, the price of corn was going for $3.29 per bushel, less than half of the 10-year high of $7.63 in August of 2012. Soybeans were at $9.30 per bushel at the end of January, down from its 10-year high of $16.20, which also occurred in August of 2012. Winter wheat was garnering a price of $4.69 per bushel during the same time period. This price is just over half of Winter Weat’s 10-year high of $8.47 per bushel in November of 2012.

With prices are down significantly from their 10-year highs, is seems understandable that production is down as well compared to 2016. According to the USDA’s annual survey, 11.9 million bushels of corn was produced in Hardin County in 2017, compared to a little over 13.3 million bushels in 2012, when prices reached their 10-year peak. Just over half a million bushels of winter wheat was produced in Hardin in 2017, compared to around 366,000 BUs in 2012. Soybean production remained mostly flat. A little over 5.2 million bushels of soybeans was produced in Hardin County in 2017, nearly the exact same amount as 2012 when prices were higher.

For this particular crop, soybeans, there may be more challenges on the horizon. On March 1, the American Soybean Association issued a news release voicing concerns with the possible impacts of steel and aluminum tariffs proposed by the white house. “China is not only U.S. soy’s largest customer, but also the top market for U.S. soybeans,” the association wrote in its release. “[China purchases] more than all our other customers combined, accounting for $14 billion in sales and more than a third of total U.S. soybean production.”

“The tariffs announced today by the administration will put the interests of other domestic industries over farmers,” stated John Heisdorffer, ASA president and Iowa soy grower in the release. “Prior to today’s announcement, China has indicated that it may retaliate against U.S. soybean imports, which would be devastating to U.S. soy growers.”

According to its website, the American Soybean Association has represented the interests of soybean growers for 95 years and currently counts 21,000 producers as members.

For corn growers nationally, the focus is on maintaining, if not expanding, the renewable fuel standard. This would benefit some local corn growers extensively as the bio-refinery POET, which maintains a plant in nearby Leipsic, already consumes 20 percent of all corn grown in Ohio.

On March 1, Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association attended a meeting at the White House to discuss the RFS. “Farmers continue to tell the Administration that providing regulatory parity for E15 and higher blends is the best policy answer for refiners’ concerns,” said Skunes following the meeting. “As discussions continue with the Administration, corn farmers thank President Trump and USDA Secretary Perdue for listening to farmers’ views and supporting agriculture. We ask that they maintain their strong stated support for the RFS by not interfering with the market mechanism that helps grow biofuels blending.”

According to its website, National Corn Growers Association has represented the interests of corn farms since 1957, and currently counts 40,000 dues-paying corn farmers nationwide.