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Updated: Wednesday, 08 Aug 2012, 1:17 PM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 07 Aug 2012, 8:57 PM EDT
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) - Indiana farmers are facing the worst drought in 50 years, but many are staying optimistic about the future.
Some have seen conditions similar to this drought back in the 1980s.
In fact, Wednesday at the state fair, 74 families will be recognized for having some of the oldest family farms in Indiana.
24-Hour News 8 checked in with one family who’s been in the business for 175 years, and will be among those honored at Wednesday's ceremony.
The Stanger family is one of those who has seen their share of bad years. 66-year-old Larry Stanger says he is the sixth generation on the farm; it was built back in 1837.
Stanger says this is the worst drought he’s seen, ever. He expects to yield just 20 percent of his corn crop.
But he says he’s still holding out hope for his soybean crop.
“You never give up hope. Soybeans, we could still get rains this month that’s going to help them beyond where they are,” said Stanger.
His family has seen drought conditions before. Stanger specifically mentions the 1983 and 1988 droughts.
He thinks in 1983, he had about 10-15 percent of his corn crop.
“In ’83, the only place I would have an ear was in a low spot where there was moisture. Otherwise, there was none,” he adds.
While this drought is worse, he says technology in the seed may have helped him yield even just a bit this year.
“You take a crop right here, and 20 years ago, we wouldn’t have even had a crop. That’s how far we’ve come along with genetics and seeds today," he said.
One piece of advice from his family: attempt to plan for years like this.
“One thing I learned down through life is try to be positive. Look ahead, and manage, and keep things in line,” he said.
Some farmers are having to sell their livestock right now because they know they won’t be able to afford to feed them next year.
Stanger says he’s hopeful he won’t have to – he already plans to make feed with corn stalks and bean stubble. He says crop insurance will pay for some of the crop he’s losing.
“I’m a firm believer when everybody else is bowing out, try to stay in. It’s going to be rewarding later on,” Stanger said.