Local farmer speaks out as drought deepens in Chicago area

If you are a farmer, have planted a tomato garden or just have grass, it’s no secret that this year is abnormally dry.

And the forecast — isn’t making anyone hopeful. We are down several inches of rainfall this year, with not a lot of rain in the forecast.

"I’ve never seen it this dry this early," said Floyd Schultz, who’s been farming in Plainfield for 55 years.

The dry spell has led to drought conditions. It's moderate for most of the area, but others are flirting with severe drought.

Schultz said with a dry spring, the subsoil, which is about a foot under the topsoil, is all but powder. His corn stalks are in distress, they are curling to lessen the impact of the sun and are much shorter than where they should be.


Schultz says ‘Knee-high by the Fourth of July’ is just an old adage. He says his crop should be nearing shoulder-high by now.

For about nine to 10 months, the area has seen a lack of moisture, which is a big problem.

"There's no good measurable rainfall for our area for nothing out there at all really," said Plainfield farmer Floyd Schultz.

Duane Friend, a Climate Specialist with the University of Illinois Extension office, said our native plants and our lawns, most trees and even crops will survive the drought, but just might not thrive.

He said what we are seeing now is nothing like 11 years ago when we saw little rain and above 100-degree temperatures.

"In 2012, it was such an extreme condition," said Friend. "There were areas where, you know, trees died and crops basically didn't even need to be harvested because they were in such bad shape."

Schultz added he needs a good soaking rain to make this situation better, close to three to four inches preferably, but that just isn’t in the forecast.