TOM POLANSEK, REUTERS CORRESPONDENT SAYING: "Have you, has anyone seen anything like this before?" SOUNDBITE JAMES MCCUNE, FARMER FROM MINERAL ILLINOIS, SAYING: "No one has ever, no one alive here has seen anything like this." What IIlinois farmer James Mccune is talking about is -- rain -- lots of it, which has turned his fields into muddy ponds SOUNDBITE JAMES MCCUNE, FARMER FROM MINERAL ILLINOIS, SAYING: "We've been planting - with my dad, since I was a kid, we've never had a year off." Mccune was unable to plant 85% of his intended corn acres this year and he's not alone.
NATSOT TOM POLANSEK, REUTERS CORRESPONDENT SAYING: "I'm standing in a muddy field..." Just last week, Reuters Correspondent Tom Polansek was in Mineral Illinois- one of the worst hit counties this year.
SOUNDBITE: TOM POLANSEK, REUTERS CORRESPONDENT SAYING: "Farmers across the Midwest were unable to plant millions of acres of corn this spring because of heavy rains.
Many thought they would eventually have a chance to put their crops in the ground but the rains just kept coming.
Now they're struggling to figure out how to make money without having crops to grow." The weather-related problems are hitting the entire industry-- less planting means farmers need less seed, herbicides and equipment than expected- hurting overall sales.
Adding pain to the sector- years of low crop prices and a U.S.-China trade war that is slowing agricultural exports.
To help farmers hurt by fewer sales to China, the U.S. government announced a $16 billion aid package, but only those who manage to plant a crop are eligible for payments.
So McCune took it upon himself to cheer up fellow farmers in his town SOUNDBITE: JAMES MCCUNE, FARMER FROM MINERAL ILLINOIS, SAYING: "Nothing good has happened in a long time and I called a couple of my friends and said you know we need to get together and talk about this..." And recently hosted a party at a local restauarant.
Dozens of corn farmers and others in the business showed up.
And over beers and fried chicken- they swapped stories and prayed the sun would come out again