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October 24, 2019
 

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15 minutes with Mike Gossman

A sit-down chat with an Ada farmer

Interviewed by Monty Siekerman
Mike Gossman knows farming, so the Ada Icon asked him about this year’s crop since farming is, by far, the biggest industry in the county.

Gossman said the bean and corn crops are “really good” this year because the weather has been almost perfect for growing with no flooding rains in the spring, intermittent rains throughout the summer and fall, and lots of hot weather.

In the spring, the bean and corn seeds emerged “the best I’ve ever seen,” he said.  Mike has been farming since his sophomore year in high school and just turned 60, so he has seen a lot of springs and knows a year that has good germination.

On the downside, the price per bushel is much lower, especially since the tariff talk began in April. Beans are at $7.50 a bushel, having fallen about $2 a bushel. Corn is 50 to 75 cents less compared to a half year ago.

He expects a “really good harvest, higher yields than normal.”

Mike farms 1,100 acres, owning about 450 acres, in northwest Liberty Township and between Ada and Dola.

The farmland he cultivates and owns wasn’t willed to him, but his success in acquiring farmland has been the result of hard work and good decisions. He noted that farming is a risky business because of weather and disease as well as never knowing what the price will be when a crop heads to market.

How much is farmland selling for in the area? He said “generally $7-9,000 an acre,” which is a little less than a couple of years ago when some went for $10,000 or more. How much is machinery? A new combine can empty half a million dollars from your account.  

Years ago area farmers had livestock, too, “but you don’t see that much anymore,” he related. Also, there is less wheat planted in Liberty Township compared to a couple of years ago. Grain crops here are mostly corn and beans nowadays.

Yes, there are continual changes in farming, the costs and risks are high, but this year’s abundant crop makes up for years when there is a shortfall.

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