In what has been described as the worst drought in the United States since the 1950s, the US Department of Agriculture has warned that because of the extraordinary circumstances crop prices are most likely to increase.
On Monday it was reported by the by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that the United States had not experienced such a wide drought since 1956 and according to its report, 55 per cent of the country was, towards the end of June, experiencing moderate to extreme drought. The report continued, saying that around 80 per cent of the country was ‘abnormally’ dry, encompassing such areas as the West, the Great Plains and the Midwest. Around 1,000 counties in 26 states had been declared disaster areas while soil deterioration had not been seen to the present extent in over 18 years.
Following this US Agriculture Secretary said “Part of the problem we're facing is that weather conditions were so good at the beginning of the season that farmers got in the field early. As a result, this drought comes at a very difficult and painful time in terms of their ability to have their crops have good yields,” adding that, "If I had a rain prayer or a rain dance I could do, I would do it."said that because of the prevailing conditions, higher crop prices were to be expected but that consumers would not be feeling the pinch immediately however cautioned over possibly ‘price gouging’ that may ensue. Speaking at a press conference held on Wednesday, Mr Vilsack
In the press conference an additional 39 counties in 8 states were added to the list of the "natural disaster areas" bringing the total number to 1,300 counties in 29 states. Farmers in these designated areas would be eligible for low cost emergency loans.
And it seems that there will be no let up either, as the present heat wave is expected to continue, with temperatures in such areas as Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, southern Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota expected to reach around 100F with little chances of rain although some weather forecasts expected rain in Ohio, Kentucky and eastern Indiana. According to reports, the present drought is not as intense as the one in 1998 but it is the most widespread, not seen since 1956 according to the National Climatic Data Centre.
this near historic drought has particularly affected the corn and soy bean crops with a US report showing that only 31 per cent of the corn crop and 34 per cent of the soy bean crop were in good to excellent shape.