Uncertain harvest for family farmers

Dave Warner wipes the sweat off his balding forehead as his sons, Andy and Paul, harvest a field full of pickles. Warner, 51,
JACOB LAMMERS
May 24, 2010

Dave Warner wipes the sweat off his balding forehead as his sons, Andy and Paul, harvest a field full of pickles.

Warner, 51, of Vickery, farms about 2,500 acres in Sandusky County with his brother and two sons. He began farming as soon as he could walk and has been a full-time farmer for more than 32 years.

"Farming is nothing more than one big challenge," Dave Warner said. "Every day is different."

Andy Warner, 31, became a full-time farmer 10 years ago, despite knowing full well the difficulty his father faces every day. Warner went to The Ohio State Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster, earning a degree in crop science.

"After school, I decided to come back to farm, so I came back to the home farm," Andy Warner said. "I know I could make more money at Ford or something, but money isn't everything."

The Warners -- like all farmers -- faced a significant drought this year.

Since June 1, the area has seen about 4.23 inches of rain, which is well below the normal of 7.52 inches, AccuWeather Meteorologist Alan Reppert said.

"This has been the driest summer since 2002," Reppert said. In 2002, the region received 3.79 inches of rain.

Reppert expects the weather will not get any better with rainfall 40-50 percent below an average of 11.1 inches.

Though Mother Nature, fluctuating grain prices and lack of profits are constants, farming has begun to evolve in new ways in recent years.