Shelby Farms, the nation’s second-largest grain producer, said Tuesday it would close its farms in the state.
The announcement comes as a wave of drought and the threat of another, warmer summer looms over the state and is a blow to farmers.
The farm has seen a drop in its production since the first year of the drought, but it is expecting a surge this summer.
In an email to the media, Shelby Farms Chief Executive Officer Brian Koehler said the farm will close at the end of August.
The company is expected to pay a total of $1.4 million in severance to the roughly 200 workers.
The Iowa State Fairgrounds in the town of Shelby, Iowa, where the company is based, is expected on Wednesday to announce that the fairgrounds will honor Shelby Farms for its “outstanding efforts in supporting the fair and fair-minded.”
In the letter, Koehlman said that while he hopes for continued support from all of our employees and their families, the company will no longer operate its Shelby Farms operations.
The move comes at a time when many farmers are feeling the pinch of the current drought, with a national poll finding that a third of American households and 40 percent of Iowa farmers are in severe or extreme drought.
But while the state has experienced record-breaking drought conditions, it has not seen the kind of rain that helped to lift the Dow Jones Industrial Average past 20,000 for the first time in five years.
The latest drought, which began in September, has killed thousands of crops in the corn and soybean belt and is threatening to wipe out crops in cotton and cotton-seed production in the Midwest.
More:A look at Iowa farmers’ problemsThe Dow Jones, the index that tracks the market’s performance, has fallen more than 1,000 points in the past three weeks.