Farmers are stockpiling corn in response to tough growing conditions, waiting for higher prices

Farmers are stockpiling corn in response to tough growing conditions, waiting for higher prices

‘They’ll be just as hungry for corn in August,’ one said

A costly tug of war has broken out over what is usually one of the Farm Belt’s most ubiquitous commodities: corn.

Agribusiness companies, including Cargill Inc., Archer Daniels Midland Co. ADM, -0.17% and Smithfield Foods Inc. are dangling hefty premiums to buy bushels of corn in places where unrelenting rain this spring prevented farmers from planting millions of acres.

Some farmers, though, are opting to sit on their unsold grain, banking it in case of a diminished harvest this fall—and the potential for still-higher prices ahead.

“For now, we’re waiting,” said Ben Klick, whose family raises corn, soybeans and wheat near Navarre, Ohio. “You don’t want to be greedy, but guys don’t know what to do.”

The persistent wet weather that swamped U.S. farmers’ fields this spring is now upsetting U.S. grain markets. Corn futures contracts traded at the Chicago Board of Trade have climbed by more than 22% over the past three months on fears that poor planting conditions would cut the U.S. corn harvest to the lowest level in years.

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