Many segments of the economy have been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, but there is positive news for Kentucky agriculture.
Corn and soybean crops are having a very good year.
Kentucky farmers are forecast to harvest 259 million bushels of corn this year, an increase of six percent over 2019.
David Knopf is regional director of the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service based in Louisville. He said the temperature and rainfall have been good for corn, and harvesting is expected to continue for a few more weeks.
“At this point, we have the potential for a record large corn production. The conditions have been relatively good all year long, well above average lately," said Knopf. "And so farmers are optimistic that they could harvest a good crop. And that’s true for soybeans as well.”
Soybean production for Kentucky is forecast to be 101 million bushels this year, up 30 percent over 2019.
And while COVID-19 is forcing people around the world into isolation, social distancing is not unusual for many Kentucky farmers, who continue to work their fields during the pandemic.
Knopf said in addition to favorable temperature and rainfall this year, the credit for higher production also goes to Kentucky farmers.
"They’ve been out there doing what they do, and they’re doing it well, regardless of what else is going on," said Knopf. "They’re used to social distancing. A lot of time they’re doing things by themselves anyway, so from that standpoint, it hasn’t really changed anything.”