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‘You can’t sell it fast enough’: Mid-Michigan farmers harried by wicked weather

Hecht's Sweet Corn near Vassar
Hecht's Sweet Corn near Vassar(WJRT)
Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 5:11 PM EDT
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VASSAR, Mich. (WJRT) - The aftermath of Mid-Michigan’s recent bout of wild weather is defined by more than just cleanups and power outages.

Shoppers will also likely see an impact on their wallets at the grocery store. A combination of the weather, pandemic shutdowns and other challenges mean shoppers pay around 50% more for produce in the store this year over last.

A Mid-Michigan farmer said he was forced to temporarily delay his harvest, only to move forward a few days later with a new concern top of mind.

“Due to the warm temperatures and the recent rainfall, the sweet corn is maturing rapidly,” Wayne Hecht said. “This kind of weather anomaly throws off that quality level.”

That’s a make or break deal for Hecht’s bottom line if the weather doesn’t play along. High humidity now means he risks his sweet corn crop rotting in the field. It was all hands on deck at Hecht’s farm near Vassar on Monday, selling corn as fast as they can sort it.

“You fear that you can’t keep up with it. You can’t sell it fast enough,” Hecht said.

Much of the growing season has been problematic, he said.

“There was a lot of concern early on,” Hecht said. “What we’re seeing is such variable rainfall. I got a big rain, the neighbor got nothing or the neighbor got a flood over there and we didn’t get anything.”

Scorching heat, drought, floods and frost continue crushing crops and cratering the world food supply, sending prices at the grocery store soaring to their highest levels in about a decade.

A small, yet significant silver lining: USDA data shows the quality of the state’s corn crop pulling ahead of last year in spite of the curveballs thrown by Mother Nature.

“The question always is, is it sweet,” Hecht said.

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