Mercer County farmer on track for successful season despite tariff talk

VIOLA, Illinois -- If planting is his annual rite of Spring, then Chad Bell can't afford to be wrong.

The quick weather turnaround is putting him on schedule for planting about 1,000 acres in Mercer County.

"Given one week out of the spring, I'd shoot for the last full week of April," he said on Wednesday, April 25.

Finally getting good weather, this third-generation farmer is planting the 2018 corn crop.

Timing is also crucial for tariffs, which threaten Bell's bottom line.

"Margins are pretty thin right now as it is," he continued. "You can really see that put us into the red ink."

Important because corn is the top crop in Northern Illinois.  So far, Illinois farmers planting just 4% of the crop. Iowa farmers are still waiting to get going.

Their window typically runs from now until mid-May.

After four consecutive solid years in Mercer County, Bell feels good about 2018.

"It's nice to hit the reset button again and start over," he said. "Shoot for high yields again this year."

But while Bell feels relatively good about the land, he's also keeping an eye on the global economy.  A possible trade war makes it tough to think about the growing season.

"It will be detrimental to all farmers, including younger farmers like myself," he concluded.

For Chad Bell, timing is everything - from planting to profits.