Coin shortage

Got a piggy bank at home? It might be time to cash it in as financial institutions are now asking people to help get more coins in circulation.

It appears banks are running out of money — don’t panic. Your saving and checking accounts are fine. The money running in short supply are coins — specifically quarters and pennies.

Banks are in need of pocket change.

Just when it appears the year 2020 cannot get any more bizarre, financial institutions are now asking people to check under their couch cushions for coins.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell recently explained that due to the partial shutdown of the economy, the flow of coins through the economy basically came to a halt.

In effect there are fewer coins circulating. It’s hard to believe. Banks are asking customers to cash in their coins.

Many people — myself included — simply put the change which collects in their pockets into a jar or dish on the kitchen counter.

Hearing of the coin shortage, I recently brought all those coins to Peoples Bank of Kankakee County and had a total of a little more than $72. You don’t realize how quickly you can accumulate a significant amount.

Jeff Hammes, president of Peoples Bank, said the bank had one day recently where it had gotten down to only $4 in pennies among its Kankakee, Bourbonnais and Manteno locations.

“We were really counting our pennies that day — literally,” Hammes said.

Hammes said the coin situation is starting to ease now that more stores are opening and people are getting back to somewhat of a more normal life.

He noted it is not uncommon for a customer or two each day to come in and empty their coin collections. When the banks closed, so did those daily collections of coins.

The coin shortage is no laughing matter.

The Federal Reserve created a U.S. Coin Task Force to address the disruptions to normal coin circulation. The task force is expected to bring forth recommendations on this matter soon.

Here’s a suggestion. Now would be a good time to bring in those stashes of coins to help out the economy, the banks and the retailers. If nothing else it will put some cash in your pocket.

Cash is easier to carry.

While much attention is paid to manufacturing, retail and commercial business within Kankakee County, it is easy to forget the importance of agriculture.

And make no mistake about it: Agriculture remains a chief driver of our economy. Nearly 3 out of every 4 acres within Kankakee County is devoted to agriculture.

Which brings me to this business item. Crops — most notably soybeans and corn — are looking quite good as July is now in our rear-view mirror.

“There were a couple weeks there in early July where you could almost hear the corn growing because it shot up so fast,” said Chad Miller, Kankakee County Farm Bureau manager.

As he keeps in contact with area farmers throughout the year, Miller said the reports he’s been receiving from ag professionals is that soybeans are looking good at this point, but timely rains are still needed to get them to the finish line.

Corn, particularly the crop planted in April and early May, is looking strong and has already gone through pollination. The portion of the crop planted in late May and early June is just now getting set for pollination so rain and moderate temperatures would help that process in a big way.

Basically, if the weather does not turn negative and if an early frost can be avoided, yields this September and October should be quite good.

“We are still heavily reliant on Mother Nature,” he said.

Miller noted the local wheat crop, which is small here, produced yields he described as below average.

Farmers are in need of strong yields because commodity prices are lagging. Currently, soybeans are in the high $8 per bushel range which corn is hovering in the low $3 a bushel range.

Miller is hoping increasing grain purchases from China can help boost per-bushel prices. Time will be the judge of that, however.

“We are certainly hopeful China follows through on their farm product purchases,” he said.

The Daily Journal’s Lee Provost writes about local business rumors, comings and goings and other notes of interest. Anyone with information to share should contact Provost at lprovost@daily-journal.com or 815-937-3364.

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