Corn, Soybean and Cotton Farmers Suffer
It's been a summer of triple-digit temperatures, and extreme dryness across the US. With that type weather comes drought. Now, more than 80% of the country is experiencing some-degree of drought conditions. The center of the country has been the hardest hit. While corn and soybean farming has borne the brunt of the drought, now even cotton may suffer. It may intensify and get even worse.
Ray Kruzdlo, a hydrologist at the National Weather Service explains, "In the worst hit areas, there hasn’t been much rainfall over the summer months. Deficits are in excess of 12 inches."
To recover from the drought and show any kind of normalcy, regions in the mid and mid -west need to have a major deluge.
"One way to estimate the amount of rainfall to break a drought, is to look at the current conditions and deficits. Then add what would be needed over the next month, to break the drought. In the worst case scenario, across the mid -west and some of the plain states there is a total of 14- 16 inches of rainfall necessary, to break this drought," adds Kruzdlo.
Some weather experts blame the Bremuda high, for this unusually long, dry spell.
"This high -pressure system, which is typically off the eastern sea board, has been right over the middle part of the country. From Illinois to Arkansas to North Dakota, there has been getting plenty of sunshine , no rain and high temperatures to boot,” says Kruzdlo.
Farmers in the mid-west are seeing tough times. The USDA reports 70% of cattle farms are impacted by drought. 80% of corn and soybean farmers have been affected. Damage is rapidly spreading to cotton fields in the south-west.
While the farming sector takes the brunt right now, the consumers will see the repercussions soon. The USDA is already projecting a 3-5% increase in food prices over the next year. Since cattle and poultry subsist on affected grains, everything from beef, to milk, eggs and chicken will be dearer by a few cents.
To add insult to injury, there seems to be no respite from the scorching conditions.
Kruzdlo concludes, "At least through October, these drought conditions will persist and even possibly worsen."
President Obama has released emergency funds to deal with the parched lands. In an election year, maybe the way he handles this drought, will be his trump card.
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