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Wheat Farmers See Weakest Harvest in Decades

The wheat harvest is in full swing. But for many farmers, a financial loss is the only thing they expect to reap this year. Persistent drought has parched wheat stands in the western parts of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, places where wheat was once one of the most reliable cash crops.

"The old adage is 'Wheat has nine lives,' and we've been through 11 of them this year," says Kansas wheat farmer John Thaemert. "So it's been a trying year."

Farmers in parts of Oklahoma have abandoned their wheat fields, reporting the smallest harvest in 50 years. Meanwhile, Texas is experiencing its lowest wheat harvest since 1925.

Rising fuel costs and interest rates are also hitting farmers, most of whom carry heavy debt. And unlike past years, these struggling farmers don't expect federal disaster relief, since weather-related funding is going to the Gulf Coast. Frank Morris of member station KCUR reports.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Frank Morris