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Down and backDown and back

Flattened corn left us similarly down-hearted…but then it popped back up!

Holly Spangler

June 23, 2016

2 Min Read

We woke up Wednesday morning to rain. Blessed rain!

But it was 4:30 a.m. and it took me a few minutes to figure out it was also windy and stormy and thundering. Like, really windy. We got up and battened everything down and I basically prayed for the next half hour: “Please don’t blow the corn down.”


By 5:30, it was light but we had no power. We made some executive decisions (command decisions!), since we were both supposed to be in Springfield to help at the Red Angus junior nationals in a couple hours. John would stay home and figure out power (and water and livestock and crops) and I would go on to Springfield. (Plus, I had an interview with the new Illinois State Fair manager…stay tuned for that next week.)

Power was back on by 8:30 and John texted me later: “Went to look at corn. Threw up.”

What he found was corn down everywhere. Badly and thoroughly and consistently, in nearly every corn field we planted.

Prior to this storm, we were, as a friend described, “on the dry side of perfect.” For sure, it had been a great spring. Certainly, we were dry – I was in Kansas last week and it was greener there than here - but corn had only recently begun to suffer and roll in the heat. Overall, it was a good looking crop but as of Wednesday, it was mostly laying on the ground. So bummed.

Then Thursday morning? It was back up. Almost all of it. Redemption! Relief!

It may still be a little tangled at harvest. And for sure, we’re fortunate this happened now, instead of a couple weeks from now when everything will be tassling.

But we’ll take a little redemption after 24 hours of gloom.


And we know it could’ve been worse. While corn from here to three counties north and west was blown down, farms near Pontiac and Seneca lost homes, barns and buildings Wednesday night. Many prayers for those folks as they clean up and rebuild, and many praises that no one was killed or injured. That’s been the theme this spring as tornadoes have popped up across Illinois: damage, but no loss of life. We’ll take that, every day. Corn, barns, houses? They can all be replaced. People, not so much.

About the Author(s)

Holly Spangler

Senior Editor, Prairie Farmer, Farm Progress

Holly Spangler has covered Illinois agriculture for more than two decades, bringing meaningful production agriculture experience to the magazine’s coverage. She currently serves as editor of Prairie Farmer magazine and Executive Editor for Farm Progress, managing editorial staff at six magazines throughout the eastern Corn Belt. She began her career with Prairie Farmer just before graduating from the University of Illinois in agricultural communications.

An award-winning writer and photographer, Holly is past president of the American Agricultural Editors Association. In 2015, she became only the 10th U.S. agricultural journalist to earn the Writer of Merit designation and is a five-time winner of the top writing award for editorial opinion in U.S. agriculture. She was named an AAEA Master Writer in 2005. In 2011, Holly was one of 10 recipients worldwide to receive the IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Ag Journalism award. She currently serves on the Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation, the U of I Agricultural Communications Advisory committee, and is an advisory board member for the U of I College of ACES Research Station at Monmouth. Her work in agricultural media has been recognized by the Illinois Soybean Association, Illinois Corn, Illinois Council on Agricultural Education and MidAmerica Croplife Association.

Holly and her husband, John, farm in western Illinois where they raise corn, soybeans and beef cattle on 2,500 acres. Their operation includes 125 head of commercial cows in a cow/calf operation. The family farm includes John’s parents and their three children.

Holly frequently speaks to a variety of groups and organizations, sharing the heart, soul and science of agriculture. She and her husband are active in state and local farm organizations. They serve with their local 4-H and FFA programs, their school district, and are active in their church's youth and music ministries.

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