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Harvest Time Brings Uncertainty for Farmers in Southern Missouri.

September 15, 2005
By: Tim Walker
State Capital Bureau

Prices for crops like corn and soybeans are well below the break even point for farmers in Southern Missouri.

Tim Walker tells us how lower prices are affecting one Missouri farmer.

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Gary Branum has farmed his land in New Madrid for over 35 years and says he has never seen anything like this.

Actuality:
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OutCue: no basis contracts and all this.
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"It's just incredible, I mean who would have ever thought, if we had ever thought this we would have done a lot of things differently. We would have been building storage and forward contracting and no basis contracts and all this."

Storage units for grain are not feasable for many farmers in Southern Missouri but Branum says that some farmers are trying to build these facilities to prevent this from happening again.

Reporting from Jefferson City, I'm Tim Walker.

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Farmers in Southern Missouri are losing money on thier corn and soybean crops this season because of Hurricane Katrina.

Tim Walker has more from the Jefferson City.

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Gary Branum says that he must sell his corn for about $2.30 per bushel to break even. The current price for corn at grain elevators along the Mississippi River has dropped because of a backup in barge traffic due to of Hurricane Katrina.

Branum says prices are more than a dollar below the break even point.

Actuality:
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OutCue: go on and do something else.
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"We can't do this, we won't so this. Something will have to happen because for us old-timers, somethings gotta happen. But now for our young farmers, they're just gonna go on and do something else."

Branum is storing his corn at a neighbors farm in hopes that prices will go back up. However, for many farmers in Southern Missouri, storage facilities are not feasible.

Reporting from the state Capital, I'm Tim Walker.

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Grain prices have fallen in the last several weeks because of increased fertilizer and fuel costs and the backup of barges along the Mississippi River leading to New Orleans.

Tim Walker has more from Jefferson City.

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The current price offered to farmers for corn exported at the Mississippi River is between $1.50 and $1.60 per bushel. That is more than a dollar less the estimated break-even price. This leaves farmers in Southern Missouri like David Herbst uncertain about the future.

Actuality:
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OutCue: kind of just hanging on.
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"I mean you're kind of holding your breath because you don't know what's going to happen next. It seems like we've just been hit with all of these things at once and everybody just kind of hanging on."

Herbst says that most farmers are not equipped to handle these prices if the trend continues for more than this year.

Reporting from the state Capital, I'm Tim Walker.