Corn has been good to farmers. Helping fuel a boom in the ag sector. And as this year’s record corn forecast indicates, Midwestern farmers can’t seem to plant enough of the grain. Even with concerns growing about the effectiveness of today’s high-tech genetically engineered seeds, farmers aren’t backing down.
Sioux County, in northwest Iowa, is known for its Dutch pastries. The landscape is dotted with Lutheran and reform churches. But today, Catholic churches and tortillerias are creeping into the landscape — signs of the new residents joining this vibrant community.
In Sioux County, as in a scattering of communities across the Midwest, Hispanic immigrants are working in meat processing plants, dairies, egg-laying facilities and hog barns. In fact, the majority of U.S. farm laborers today were born outside the U.S.
Iowa farmer Brent Hayes looks out over 1,700 acres of winter wheat he planted last October on flood-damaged land near the Missouri River. The foot-high crop was used to help replenish the soil for corn.
For many Midwesterners, wind is an occasional nuisance. For farmers, though, the wind’s impact can be huge — drying out crops and eroding topsoil. Gusts big and small also complicate the application of chemicals, and that can be particularly costly.