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Farmers Drown Their Sorrows in Beer and Fried Chicken

Newser — Neal Colgrass

Illinois farmers gathered to tell their tales of woe Thursday at—of all places—The Happy Spot. With heavy rains and record floods forcing them to leave millions of acres unseeded, corn farmers gathered with sellers of equipment, chemicals, and seed at the Deer Grove restaurant to swap stories over beer and fried chicken, Reuters reports.

"Everybody’s so down in the dumps," says farmer James McCune, who organized the so-called "Prevent Plant Party" after leaving 85% of his corn acres unplanted. Other attendees weren't much happier.

Greg McKnight, who sells seed and 18-wheeler trucks for farmers to transport grain, put it in stark terms.

"Since all this rain began, it's like shutting the light switch off," he says.

"My phone has quit ringing on sales." The federal government is trying to help out with a $16 billion aid package, but that's for farmers hurt by the trade war with China.

President Trump has signed a $19 billion disaster relief bill that allots over $3 billion to make up for lost crops, but HuffPo notes that certain Trump policies—like his plan to lower vehicle emission standards—are likely to exacerbate weather linked to climate change.

"Overall, it's climate change,” an atmospheric scientist tells National Geographic of the flooding. "We expect an increase in total precipitation in the Midwest, especially in winter and spring, with more coming as larger events."

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