As we get through the “dog days” of summer, many Indiana farmers are having to deal with the effects of the weather, as well as ongoing supply-chain issues.
Joe Kelsay of Kelsay Farms, which is based out of Whiteland in Johnson County, says he has faced a number of challenges this growing season.
“While a little later in maturity than what I’d like to see at this time in the calendar, I think the crop has some hope yet as we look into fall harvest,” says Kelsay, who is a former Director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture and a sixth-generation farmer. In addition to farming, he also works full time at Corteva Agriscience as the North American Food Chain Leader.
Both Joe and his brother Russ farm 2,200 acres south of Indianapolis. He says they have an even amount of acreage of corn and soybeans planted this year, along with a 200 acres of wheat, as well as alfalfa for livestock.
Joe says his crops are looking pretty good so far in spite of the late start to planting in May, and the hot, dry weather in June and July.
“Where we farm, we have a little heavier ground, so [it’s] probably a bit more drought resistant than some that may be on hotter sand, so I’m very hopeful yet that we’ll have a good crop” says Kelsay. “I really hoping, as we move into harvest time, we can pull off some big bushels because this is not the year for supply-chain trouble when it comes to commodities.”
Joe says he has experienced supply-chain issues first-hand.
“We did have a tractor that was down for a month because of a hydraulic valve that helped to steer,” says Kelsay. “It would turn only to the right, and until we got the part from wherever that part came from, we were out for a month without one of our big tractors, and that was a real challenge.”
“I think it’s really strange how these supply chain challenges have hit,” says Kelsay. “Whether it be baby formula, tractor parts, planter controls, [or] chips for your pick-up, you never know what might hit, so what thinking ahead [and] trying to have some redundancy and some resilience built into your farm business is ‘play for the day’ for this year and next.”
In spite of all the twists and turns of the business that he and his brother have experienced, Joe remains optimistic about what lies ahead.
“Overall, a farmer has hope [and] has an optimistic view of where we might go,” says Kelsay. “Despite all the turmoil that might happen, the American farmer is one that’s willing to take those risks and make the best play that they can make and hope for the best with weather and markets.”
“No two years are ever the same,” says Kelsay, “We’re looking forward to seeing what ‘22 will bring, and then plan for ‘23.”
Click BELOW to hear C.J. Miller’s news report featuring Joe Kelsay of Kelsay Farms in Johnson County – as Joe discusses how the weather, as well as supply-chain issues, have impacted his farm operations so far this growing season.