Drought has negative impact on FFA and 4-H projects

Combines are usually running late into the night during the month of October in Missouri. This year, however, the corn yield is expected to be the lowest in almost 10 years, and many producers didn’t try to harvest, instead chopping their crop for silage.

Many people wonder how the drought will impact yields, or which commodities will raise in price soon due to rising corn prices. One thing many haven’t thought of is the impact the drought will have on local 4-H and FFA members.

FFA students from the Warrenton FFA chapter say they will be making changes to their supervised agricultural experience projects in the upcoming year. A common concern among students involved in animal production was that they would not be able to purchase both the animal and the feed for it.

An SAE project is a project each student develops based on one of four categories; entrepreneurship, placement, research and experiment, and exploratory. Several students shared their plans on keeping their SAE alive.

Chad Schneider, a Warrenton, Mo., FFA member with a beef production SAE, assists with the family business of farming hundreds of acres of corn and beans just west of Warrenton. Schneider said that one’s location could impact how much the prices fluctuate.

“Some areas did better than others; some got mandatory levels of rain needed to make their crop successful,” Schneider said. “Others got less so those areas may have higher prices due to less yields there.”

The increase in feed prices has not caused Schneider to change his plans, however.

Another student, Michael Bruns, said that he would adjust to the rising prices of corn by hand feeding his pigs a smaller amount. Bruns thinks that by doing this the average weight of steers and hogs will drop significantly.

Diane Miederhoff, Warrenton FFA adviser, provided some insight. This year she is expecting to see a lot of “smaller animal projects” to try to save money.

“Some families and kids that have previously purchased a show animal have gone to buying a feeder pig or feeder steer,” Miederhoff said. “Most SAEs will convert to placement rather than ownership. This is a trend we see now and that I know will continue in the future.”

By Cassie Lenzenhuber
Corner Post Staff Writer