By Randy Fogg
INMAN—One local farmer said the COVID-19 pandemic had not affected the Kansas agricultural community in planting spring crops. However, agricultural markets—like the financial ones—have totally collapsed.
Adam Baldwin, who operates a farm and ranch between Inman and McPherson, noted all input producers were prepared for the crisis.
He said sales people for MKC, which has its headquarters in Moundridge, uses texts and e-mails to reach their customers.
“They try to limit personal contact with their customers,” Baldwin said.
He added many sales people are using texts and e-mails, but it has been more pronounced the last three or four weeks.
Baldwin noted companies like MKC, PraireLand Partners and Nutrien Ag Solutions were proactive in getting their employees ready for the COVID-19 crisis. The businesses had their employees follow social distancing and kept six feet apart
“One big concern could be spraying,” Baldwin said. “If you’re relying on a custom sprayer, what do you do if some of their employees come down with the coronavirus? It could be a major problem.”
He added if a farmer comes down with something, they might have to rely on someone else to put herbicides on their crop.
Baldwin said he was going to start planting his corn on Monday, April 6, wanting to wait after last weekend’s frigid overnight temperatures. He added he has his corn seed stored in a shed on his farm.
In terms of the market, Baldwin noted corn growers were concerned about the decrease in demand for gasoline. He explained with less demand, there is less interest in purchasing corn to make more of the ethanol fuel mixture.
In the last few weeks, corn has lowered 40 cents to 50 cents a bushel. He noted prices have usually gone up until mid-June.
“It is pretty rough,” Baldwin said.
He noted China has started to import some sorghum from this country, which should help farmers.