Poor harvests, increasing costs forces Iberville Parish farmer to retire after 45 years

Poor harvests, increasing costs forces Iberville Parish farmer to retire after 45 years
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POSTED: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - 5:00pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 - 4:07pm

We're about two weeks into soy bean harvesting season, and sugar cane season is right around the corner. However, local farmers say they don't know what to really expect.

Farmer Charles Landry said that years ago, if you were a sugar cane farmer, you focused on that. Now, things have changed and so has the focus, mainly due to high prices.

"Most of the guys I know are double cropping. There are a very few that aren't," stated Landry. “(Soy) Beans are another off-set for cash flow and that's why a lot of farmers are double cropping - to try and minimize some of that cost; they help cash flow until prices get better."

However, Landry doesn't see those prices going down anytime soon.

“Sugar prices are not good, and it will not be good until the next four years. Once it does come around, you’re going to have situations where farmers are playing catch up with old debt."

It's not the sugar cane that's pricey- it's the prices of the tools and items used to harvest and plant.

"It’s a tough road to travel here in the next few years… it’s going to be tough."

And with the recent steady rainfall in our region, Landry’s harvest - both sugar and soybeans - could suffer.

“You get cloudy, overcast days and your moisture stays up. It’s not the rain (itself), but the related problems with the showers coming. These beans have a lot of moisture in them, and they are not firm; they will start decaying and that's not a resalable bean. They want the moisture as low as possible."

With all the recent and undeniable factors in the future, Landry is taking a step back and looking at the big picture. He will be retiring soon, not only because of the trouble within the industry, but to also spend more time with his family.

"I didn't feel that, at my age, I was willing to fight another four years or until it gets better."

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