Corn and soybean farmers have seen yield loss from the draught, but one organic farmer found the dry weather benefited one of the diverse crops he grows. Andy Dunham of Grinnell Heritage Organic Farms in north central Iowa says his sweet potatoes did extremely well.
“Sweet potatoes are tropical in origin, from Papua New Guinea and so they like the heat, and we had the irrigation so we harvested about 20-25 thousand pounds of sweet potatoes. A little less than half an acre,” Dunham says.
Crop insurance will take care of losses from this year’s drought for some corn and soybean farmers, but crop insurance does not work the same way for organic vegetable farms. “In the state of Iowa currently, the only option you have is NAP…and that’s Non Insurable Agricultural Products. That policy, because we don’t have vegetable data in Iowa, basically sends back a yield that is so ridiculously low that it is not worth buying it,” Dunham explains.
Dunham says they’ll make it through because of their crop diversity and the support from their loyal customers.Dunham made his comments on Iowa Public Radio’s “Talk of Iowa” program.