Less than one month into the Summer, The Great & Terrible Drought of 2012 drought looks like the worst single national farm & water crisis since 1934 — and its getting worse every day.
The NYTimes writes:
“What is particularly striking about this dry spell is its breadth. Fifty-five percent of the continental United States — from California to Arkansas, Texas to North Dakota — is under moderate to extreme drought, according to the government, the largest such area since December 1956. An analysis released on Thursday by the United States Drought Monitor showed that 88 percent of corn and 87 percent of soybean crops in the country were in drought-stricken regions, a 10 percent jump from a week before. Corn and soybean prices reached record highs on Thursday, with corn closing just over $8.07 a bushel and soybeans trading as high as $17.49.
As of Sunday, more than half of the corn in seven states was in poor or very poor condition, according to the Department of Agriculture. In Kentucky, Missouri and Indiana, that figure is above 70 percent. Over all, only 31 percent of the nation’s corn is in good to excellent condition, compared with 66 percent at the same time last year . . .
The withering corn has increased feed prices and depleted available feeding land, putting stress on cattle farmers. A record 54 percent of pasture and rangeland — where cattle feed or where hay is harvested for feeding — was in poor or very poor condition, according to the Department of Agriculture. Many farmers have been forced to sell their animals. Because feed can account for nearly half of a cattle farmer’s costs, consumers could see a rise in the price of meat and dairy products, experts said. The high sustained heat has led the key components in milk, like fat and protein, to plummet more than usual, said Chris Galen, a spokesman for National Milk Producers Federation.
Widespread Drought Is Likely to Worsen
NYT, July 19, 2012
This post originally appeared at The Big Picture and is posted with permission.