2012 Apple Crop

triciaeSeptember 2, 2012

Last year, the apples were so delicious and plentiful we put up more than usual and just recently finished what we had stored except for dried and we put up about 2 years of those. Anyway, last week, we bought a bushel of early mixed variety apples and I made some applesauce and apple butter with them.

In talking with the grower's at today's farmer's market they all reported the same thing - this year's crop would be significantly less and earlier. Our problem was hail damage in July but weather caused apple losses most everywhere east of the Mississippi. Annie's been telling us about Michigan's loss for some time.

I've attached a crop update from the New England Apple Association that gives crop estimates for most locations around the country and detailed info for New England. If you want apples this year - don't wait.


Here is a link that might be useful: 2012 Apple Crop

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My local apple picking place, Battleview orchards, Freehold, NJ sent out this message:

IMPORTANT PICK-YOUR-OWN INFORMATION�PLEASE READ!!!Our Peach and Apple Crop will be VERY LIMITED from now through the end of October!! Our orchards suffered Freezing Temperatures in May, which damaged some of our fruit and in late July, we had a tremendous Hail Storm! These two events have left us with extreme damage to the remaining fruit in our orchards! It is VERY IMPORTANT that you call for picking hours and supply, prior to making a trip to our orchard for picking. We are happy to report our Pumpkin Crop is in GREAT condition.

I live about 10 minutes away, but haven't yet been there this year to pick strawberries, sour cherries or nectarines. Hopefully I'll make it there for the apples.


    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 2:12PM
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Fear not for the apple farmers. They will apply for
government assistance, and on top of that, they will
make 500% over the regular cost of their product.
They will be fine.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 2:20PM
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lbpod, the only "farmers" that get disaster assistance are the big agribusinesses.

I farm very small, Dad farmed more than I did, his father farmed before him. All our neighbors farmed. I don't know one single small farmer that has ever received government assistance, state or federal, at any time, and that covers three generations of farmers. I certainly never have, nor has my father or grandfather. We never got paid to not grow something or got compensated for our "business losses" or for bad weather. Dad used to tell me that farming was like playing poker with God.

Like all large businesses, agri-business has lobbyists and friends in Washington. You can bet that they will get bailed out but the small family farms that make up about 80% of the farms are going to lose their homes and their livlihoods.

So, if the people in Louisiana who lose their homes to floods from hurricanes get federal disaster assistance from FEMA why shouldn't the farmers in Iowa who were hit by floods a couple of years ago get it? Or the farmers in Kansas who lost the wheat crop to drought? Or the farmers in New England who lost the apple crop to frost?

How can you decide who gets assistance and who doesn't, when natural disaster hits your home or your livlihood?

When you are counting on 100 acres of apples to pay the mortgage and working 80 or 90 hours a week to grow those apples, it's a hard hit when you lose 97 of those acres. There go your wages to put food on your table and pay for your kids' braces.

So farmers should just go bankrupt and go on welfare, and let the government (i.e. the rest of the country) support them for the rest of their lives instead? That makes no sense at all to me.


    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 4:21PM
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Whether one gets FEMA assistance, or not, doesn't start with the Federal government. It begins at the local level. If a mayor declares a state of emergency then that town/city becomes illigible for state assistance. If the state determines it is unable to handle the disaster on it's own then it also declares a state of emergency releasing access to the National Guard and other assets. If that still isn't enough assistance, the governor needs to request Presidential Disaster Relief. Then, FEMA enters the picture. That's a much simplified example of the chain of command.

If the governor does not request a Presidential Disaster - then the residents of that disaster will NOT receive FEMA assistance.

FEMA flood insurance is available to all US property owners not just those located in a flood plain. IMO, everybody should have a policy. The cost is virtually nothing if you're not in a flood prone area.

So, for some disasters, the governor should ask for Obama to declare the state a federal disaster. Unfortunately, not all governors are willing to do that as a political statement and the result is that some people will not receive aid.

Here's a FEMA summary.

I believe Congress adjourned for their August recess without passing the Bill that would have dealt with the drought. :( I know there was a change in that Bill dealing with small farmers and insurance but don't remember what all is in there. I only read about a 6 page summary and that's been a month ago.


Here is a link that might be useful: FEMA Disaster Assistance Overview

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 5:00PM
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Tricia, my point was that federal assistance for a disaster is federal assistance, no matter if it's FEMA or if it's another program. Why should one group of people be eligible and not another?

In spite of the widely held notion that farmers are constantly receiving money from the government, it's a falsehood. SOME are receiving money and lots of it, but it's not Farmer Smith down the road, it's the guy that counts his acres in thousands instead of hundreds and produces for places like Tyson, etc.

Our Governor declared a disaster due to the frost and then the drought. Doesn't mean that anyone is going to get anything and our elected officials went on vacation before dealing with it at all. I'm only assuming that the small farmers will be cut out of the bill, if it ever passes.


    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 7:14PM
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Also, 500% over regular cost is also wrong. In shortage times, yes, prices are a little higher, but it's not the farmer who reaps the benefits of the price gouging, it's the distributors. Farmers seldom, if ever get windfall prices for their products.

Also it should be mentioned about crop insurance. There's a big misunderstanding about what crop insurance is. Many think it guarantees a crop. It doesn't. All the farmer gets on a total crop loss is reimbursement of seeding costs. That's basically it. And the price of the insurance is so ridiculously expensive, few family farmers can afford it anyway. And if they get a partial crop, they don't qualify for insurance anyway.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 10:23AM
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I can't speak for apple farmers, but I can speak for corn farmers. We will have little to no crop this year.

We do have crop insurance. We pay a premium, just as you do any insurance policy. We certainly won't get 500% of our crop in payment - but it will be something. You can decide how much insurance you want on your crop (before you even plant it in the ground) and your payback is decided on that. You don't change that once a disaster has already struck. You can get a bigger payback (more than the input costs) if you pay a higher level of premium. But remember - not every year will you collect on crop insurance. Paying the very high premium is generally not a good use of money.

You have to "prove yields" over many years time. This has to be done through government agency's and very good record keeping. If you do not have a higher proven yield, you would get paid on the "county average. The government might say the county average for corn is 149 bushel/acre. Generally our yields are 200 bushel/acre on a OK year. We like to exceed that on a good year.

We would have far more $$$ if we had a normal crop this year, but at least we will have our inputs covered by the crop insurance payment and we won't be looking at a negative income.

You have to also understand how much money goes into farming,and I am speaking from a family farm aspect. I spend well over $100,000 in seed, chemical, and fuel costs each spring. A new combine is over 1/4 million dollars - and that is just the machine, not the head that combines the different crops. You need a head for corn, and a different head for soybeans.

I pay a generous amount in taxes also. I pay close to $30,000 in property tax alone. Last year was a very good year. Grain prices were high. Even with very careful planning, I gave a SERIOUS amount of money to the IRS.

I get really really fed up when I hear how farmers get so many handouts... I hand a HELL OF A LOT back!

Our family also works 7 days a week - 365 days a year. We have livestock with our operation. There are no days off. This lifestyle is our choice - but everything we have WE EARNED!

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 3:40PM
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I guess it all boils down to how good a lawyer/accountant you have. What's available to the big boys is also
available to Farmer Smith, down the road. You just have
to file the proper paperwork, at the right time, at the
right place.
My 500% increased profit margin was a tongue-in-cheek exageration. Please don't hate me for that.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 3:53PM
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Well, I guess it all boils down to how good a lawyer you can afford and the small farmer sure can't afford much.

In 2011, According to the USDA "59 percent of farms in Michigan did not collect subsidy payments - according to USDA. Ten percent collected 71 percent of all subsidies."

You may believe as you wish, it's pointless to provide any more facts. In the meantime, I'm living the dream, getting $1.65 a pound hanging weight for my grass fed beef and trying to figure out how the heck I'm going to feed them this winter with the non-existent hay crop.

Iowagirl is in the same boat, I'm sure, as are many of my neighbors. And this winter, when it's 20 below zero and I'm standing in the back of a truck, filling hay feeders and passing out powdered sugar donuts, I'll try to remember that farmers are simply parasites on society and wonder where the heck my government check is.


    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 7:25PM
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beachlily z9a

Annie, I, for one, would be happy to underwrite your donuts. Don't have enough to underwrite the hay ... but I would be happy to help.

American farmers are dear to my heart because I rely primarily on fresh veggies in my cooking. Don't like the frozen ones. When we've had hurricanes rip through FL, winter veggies are hard to find. Expect the same is true during crippling droughts.

Parasites? Not the small farmers! Nobody wants to know who I consider parasites. That's not a subject for this forum.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 8:20PM
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Beachlily, it's not the cost that's the problem, it's that it cannot be had for any price because there is none to buy. I have enough, I think. Barely. It's hard to "hoard" my hay, though, when I know that neighbors can't feed their stock. They've spent years, or even generations, building up herds and bloodlines and they are neighbors and friends. I lost a cow and a calf this summer, both died during the birth process. (sigh) It's a financial loss, that's 20% of my total herd, but now it appears that I wouldn't have been able to feed them anyway. Funny how things work out.

Yes, indeed, I'm spending that "huge" county pension since I retired on powdered sugar donuts, LOL. Dad always told me that if he won the lottery he'd just keep on farming until all the money was gone. he also said that the most successful farmers were the ones whose wives (or husbands) had jobs in town. (grin)


    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 9:58PM
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I came here to appoligize for a 'political' statement
that I had made. But lo-and-behold, the Garden Web
Gods had removed it, (WHEW).

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 3:53PM
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To get this thread back on track, the Wisconsin apple crop was hard hit by the late freeze, too. Production is predicted to drop 61%, according to one article that I read. Here in central WI, I'm going to harvest 2 apples, Honeycrisps that somehow survived that freeze (in the lee of a large pine.) Besides the freeze, any growers that escaped that have had serious drought to contend with.

Talked to our apple guy today--he hauls apples up from the south central part of the state. He had 'deer apples' (small) at a reasonable price but said that he probably won't bother with the lgr eating apples because the growers were talking about prices in the neighborhood of $80 a bushel! Don't know this guy well enough to know if he tends to guild the lily...

Fortunately, I have quite a lot of applesauce that I canned last year/ year before & frozen, sliced apples buried at the bottom of the freezer. Had they been easier to get to, I'd probably be out of apples!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 5:50PM
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Today we went to one of my favorite orchards and bought two half-pecks of apples, Cortlands and Jonathans. Everything is very early this year. We never have Cortlands before mid-September, and Jonathans I think in October. My other favorite orchard is higher up and a bit farther north, so they'll be later.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 8:32PM
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