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Worthington popcorn farm loses 60 acres of crops after severe storms

Published: Aug. 25, 2021 at 9:37 PM CDT
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WORTHINGTON, Iowa (KCRG) - Dubuque County saw damage from Tuesday’s severe thunderstorms.

Heavy rains and strong winds affected crops in the area, in addition to some tree and structure damage. That was the case for Farmers Best Popcorn in Worthington.

”We were kind of thinking we were in the home stretch,” Jon Ramaekers, the owner of the company, said. “Usually when you make it past September the chance for severe thunderstorm really dwindles.”

But, Tuesday, that chance turned into a reality: Ramaekers had about 60 acres of popcorn destroyed and leveled. Growing the popcorn starts in the spring and takes months, so losing the crops to severe weather is always rough, but especially this late in the season.

”Especially this time of year, when there is a severe thunderstorm, you just kind of hold your breath when it comes to the popcorn or any crops because you are this close to getting to harvest,” Ramaekers said. “We are just about a month out from harvest and you hate seeing it go down like this.”

Being a smaller popcorn company, Farmers Best Popcorn struggles a little more when events like this happen.

”We grow everything ourselves, we do not source any popcorn from anywhere else,” Ramaekers said. “A bigger popcorn company, they have growers scattered throughout the country and, when they have issues likes this in an isolated area, then they can just pull from another place.”

Ramaekers said, though, last year was a great crop and he believes they have enough leftover to make it through the rest of the year.

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