Parched fields as drought devastates US crops

Aug 01, 2012 by Fritz Faerber
A field of dead corn sits next to the Lincolnland Agri-Energy ethanol plant in Palestine, Illinois, on July 25. Two-thirds of the continental United States is now suffering from the most widespread drought since the 1950s.

The sweat pours down Larry Hasheider's face as he walks across his parched cornfields to show the result of one of the worst droughts to strike the United States in decades.

"This is the best ear I've got out here, right now. And, that's about half the normal size. The plants that are next to it produced nothing," the Illinois farmer said as he pulled the husk away to show the only spot of yellow in a field of dried-out corn stalks.

"What I'm seeing here is a total . There is no grain out here to harvest."

Two thirds of the continental is now suffering from the most widespread drought since the 1950s.

And the drought in America's breadbasket is intensifying at an unprecedented rate, driving concern could soar if crops in the world's key producer are decimated.

The latest US Drought Monitor reported a nearly threefold increase in areas of extreme drought in the course of a single week in the nine Midwestern states where three quarters of the country's corn and soybean crops are produced.

"It's kind of like being sucker-punched in the stomach," Hasheider told AFP. "You think, 'OK, it's bad this week, but next week it can't be this way. Well, it is."

Delbert Craig (right) chats with Karis Gutter of the United States Department of Agriculture following a tour of Craig's drought-stricken farm near Goreville, Illinois, on July 26.

Hasheider is fortunate -- most of his farm is irrigated -- but officials say only about 15 percent of US cornfields are. Some rural water suppliers are talking about mandatory restrictions because they have seen such a dramatic drop in the water table.

The percentage of the nation's rated very poor or poor rose to 48 percent in the week ending July 29, while 47 percent of the was in very poor or poor condition, according to the US .

That's the worst rating since the drought of 1988, which cut production by 20 percent and cost the economy tens of billions of dollars.

With grazing pastures also parched and feed prices at record highs, many ranchers are sending their animals to slaughter early because it's too costly to keep them until full size.

President Barack Obama's administration has opened up protected US land to help farmers and ranchers and has encouraged crop insurance companies to forgo charging interest for a month.

It has also provided emergency low-interest loans to farmers in the 1,234 counties across 31 states which have been declared disaster areas due to the drought.

Karis Gutter of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) looks over peppers grown on the farm of Jerry Jimenez on July 26, 2012 near Cobden, Illinois. Some rural water suppliers are talking about mandatory restrictions because they have seen such a dramatic drop in the water table.

Local governments are also trying to help. The state of Missouri has offered millions in grants to help farmers and ranchers drill or deepen wells and expand irrigation systems.

Experts predict there will still be a sizable harvest -- just not anywhere close to the bounty of recent years or the bumper crop predicted before the rain stopped.

And that will likely bring price increases for food and all types of products for years to come.

"We're not just talking about the fact that things are going to be tight here in the United States," said Sam Funk, senior economist with Doane Advisory Services.

"When you look at such a large portion of the corn and soybean crop that gets exported, you're going to talk about substantially impacting a number of other marketplaces."

The impact spreads far beyond just cereal or bread -- or a single growing season -- because so much of the US crop is used as livestock feed and those herds are being culled, Funk explained.

Due to the early culls, getting the US cattle herds back up to pre-drought levels would take at least two years, he said, warning that pork and poultry production was also at risk.

Out in the fields, many farmers are trying to salvage what they can by chopping the stunted plants into feed for livestock. So few ears of corn are growing, it just isn't worth harvesting.

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The drought in America's breadbasket is intensifying at an unprecedented rate, experts warned, driving concern food prices could soar if crops in the world's key producer are decimated.

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The Obama administration opened up protected US land to help farmers and ranchers hit by severe drought Monday, and encouraged crop insurance companies to forgo charging interest for a month.

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Howhot
4.2 / 5 (5) Aug 01, 2012
Welcome to the new normal!
ryggesogn2
2.5 / 5 (8) Aug 01, 2012
Last year crops along the Missouri River were flooded out. I-29 was closed for weeks from Sioux City to Omaha, NE.
ryggesogn2
2.5 / 5 (8) Aug 01, 2012
What a difference a year and no memory makes:

"The highest spring flood risk areas include the Red River of the North, which forms the state line between eastern North Dakota and northwest Minnesota, the Milk River in eastern Montana, the James and Big Sioux Rivers in South Dakota, the Minnesota River, the upper Mississippi River basin from Minneapolis south to St. Louis, and a portion of lower New York, eastern Pennsylvania and northern New Jersey.

"For the third consecutive year, the stage is set for potential widespread, record flooding in the north-central United States," said Jack Hayes, director of the weather service, at a press breifing on Thursday."
http://www.usatod...st_N.htm
"Waters start to recede after brutal Northeast flooding"
http://www.usatod...ts_n.htm
NotParker
2.2 / 5 (10) Aug 01, 2012
Welcome to the new normal!


Dry was the normal until the PDO switching in the mid 70s, and then it was reasonably wet until the wet 1990s.

Dry is the old normal.

Take a look at the Oklahoma data for the Jan-Jun period all the way back:

http://www.ncdc.n...mp;div=0
rubberman
3.7 / 5 (6) Aug 01, 2012
If dry was the old normal, there wouldn't have been farms there and the 30's dustbowl wouldn't have displaced millions. So I take it we are back to drought is cyclical...in which case we can just cut and paste from the other thread.
omatwankr
1.4 / 5 (9) Aug 01, 2012
You know who I blame..
That Ni.............ce man in the white house
O'Bama cause he is a socialist
NotParker
2 / 5 (8) Aug 01, 2012
If dry was the old normal, there wouldn't have been farms there and the 30's dustbowl wouldn't have displaced millions. So I take it we are back to drought is cyclical...in which case we can just cut and paste from the other thread.


The NOAA says it was dry. You claim it couldn't have been.

ryggesogn2
2.1 / 5 (7) Aug 01, 2012
You know who I blame..
That Ni.............ce man in the white house
O'Bama cause he is a socialist


All socialists are to blame for subsidizing crops, mandating ethanol and subsidizing its production and setting tariffs on other crops.
All such central planning skews land use decisions which impact water usage and soil conditions.
Howhot
5 / 5 (4) Aug 01, 2012
The American people are to blame for subsidizing crops, mandating ethanol and subsidizing its production and setting tariffs on other crops. That's not socialism, that is just the way the country works best. You need to get off your high-horse socialism rant R2.
ryggesogn2
2 / 5 (8) Aug 01, 2012
That's not socialism, that is just the way the country works best.

How does subsidizing failure and taxing success make anything work best?

Howhot
5 / 5 (4) Aug 01, 2012
You know who I blame.., the TEA PARTY POS.
ryggesogn2
2.1 / 5 (7) Aug 01, 2012
"Subsides tie farmers to crops that are unprofitable
and promote reckless treatment of the environment. They are holding
the American farmer back from providing viable alternatives to the
issues facing the country and should be ended."
Silly Rabbit, Farm Subsidies Don't Help America
Thomas R. Poole
Howhot
5 / 5 (2) Aug 01, 2012
How does subsidizing Multi-million dollar industrial farms help? Good question R2. I don't like it either, but your tea party friends sure do, they love denying the ability of the USA farmer to even the ability to get a loan to by the seed to plant crops.

But R2, what would you stop subsidizing that farmers need and why shouldn't we tax the successful if it can help lift all of us to a better position to succeed?

Howhot
5 / 5 (2) Aug 01, 2012
Look the US Senate already dealt with in the Farm bill. Passed by a 2-1 margin. It cuts $23 Billion in crop subsidies, conservation funding and food stamps for the poor. Not food stamps for the rich btw, they are privileged, they are the freaken job-makers after all.
ryggesogn2
2.1 / 5 (7) Aug 01, 2012
why shouldn't we tax the successful if it can help lift all of us to a better position to succeed?

Because this is a socialist fantasy.
Why don't you tax those who get 'As' in school? Give them a 'B' and redistribute the extra grade to those who earned a 'D'. Same logic.
Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (1) Aug 01, 2012
Denialists have been told for decades that a warming planet will produce greater variability in weather, with greater rates of extreme events.

"Last year crops along the Missouri River were flooded out." - RyggTard

They refused to heed the warnings.
Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (1) Aug 01, 2012
Poverty and disease was the old normal for America too, and it is returning to America.

Enjoy the norm... ParkerTard.

"Dry is the old normal. " - ParkerTard

Desert is the destination for the American Grain Belt.
kochevnik
3 / 5 (4) Aug 01, 2012
How does subsidizing failure and taxing success make anything work best?
It works best for the plutocrats. You know, those people whose boots you lick? Seize the cash and externalize the costs onto the 99%: Ryggtard economics 101
NotParker
2 / 5 (8) Aug 01, 2012
AGW cult members try and claim the 11 year dust bowl was normal and therefore lesser droughts are examples of AGW causing "extreme" events.

The dust bowl was 80 years ago. It was extreme. CO2 was much much lower.

Howhot
5 / 5 (3) Aug 02, 2012
NP, eventually you will see that all of these bizarre weather events do have a common relationship. The relationship is the up tick of the temperatures that just about everyone acknowledges is from greenhouse gases and the greenhouse effect.

You may try to dismiss all of this as Green Party wishful thinking. But, then why is it that all of the extreme weather events are clustering right now, after a massive burn off of sequestered CO2? (CO2 burned in the form of Oil, Coal, NatGas).

The dust bowl was 80 years ago. It was extreme. CO2 was much much lower.


The drought of 2012 has wiped out 48% of the corn crop, and 47% of the soy bean crop. And CO2 was much higher!
NotParker
2 / 5 (8) Aug 02, 2012
Imagine 300 years of drought in Nebraska, far worse than the dustbowl 1930s.

Today, Nebraskas Sandhills, a region of gently rolling sand dunes blanketed with prairie grasses and wetlands that cover a quarter of the state, provide ideal habitat for wildlife and livestock. During medieval times 800 to 1,000 years ago, however, the region was a swirling desert, far worse than the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.

The Sandhills of Nebraska are clear testimony of prolonged drought, Loope said. If these conditions return, it will be really bad and theres nothing we can do about it. That these conditions existed only a thousand years ago is sobering.

http://newsroom.u...andhills
Howhot
5 / 5 (2) Aug 02, 2012
R2 says
Why don't you tax those who get 'As' in school? Give them a 'B' and redistribute the extra grade to those who earned a 'D'. Same logic

That is an interesting statement R2. It really does have a deep philosophical direction that those that achieve shouldn't be forced to share. After all, a kid that achieves an A, shouldn't split it with the D and F kids. But that is really misleading.

If a kid is born with 9 billion dollars in inheritances while everyone else lives in squallier in an economy that survives on the 9 billion dollar kid buying a new car, its not going to work. The economy is bigger than that, you will agree? The human population of the world is about 6.89 billion and everyone has basic needs and human rights. Food, water, etc. If those social fundamentals are not taking into consideration, the population will object. Our democratic representative form of government is one of the best inventions of man.

Howhot
5 / 5 (3) Aug 02, 2012
How does subsidizing failure and taxing success make anything work best?

So anyway R2, the government includes all of us, more than others at times, republican and democrat. Situations like the droughts concern us all, and the government. There's nothing socialist about it except what's in your mind.
Howhot
5 / 5 (2) Aug 02, 2012
NP says
Imagine 300 years of drought in Nebraska, far worse than the dust bowl 1930s.


Yeah but we didn't have 6.8 billion people on the earth that relied on Nebraska to be the "Bread Basket of the World"? Thanks for pointing out ONE MORE reason to stop AGW.

ryggesogn2
2.1 / 5 (7) Aug 02, 2012
NP says
Imagine 300 years of drought in Nebraska, far worse than the dust bowl 1930s.


Yeah but we didn't have 6.8 billion people on the earth that relied on Nebraska to be the "Bread Basket of the World"? Thanks for pointing out ONE MORE reason to stop AGW.


Why DO so many rely on Nebraska? Can't wheat be grown anywhere else in the world? Why isn't Zimbabwe exporting food as it did before the socialists seized the land?
NotParker
2.1 / 5 (7) Aug 02, 2012
NP says
Imagine 300 years of drought in Nebraska, far worse than the dust bowl 1930s.


Yeah but we didn't have 6.8 billion people on the earth that relied on Nebraska to be the "Bread Basket of the World"?



In fact humans had nothing to do with megadroughts in the past, so why do you think denying farms access to fossil fuels or fossil fuel based fertilizers or fossil fuels for transporting all those crops to the rest of the world will make it rain?

By the way it did rain. Green is 1 to 8 inches in the last week.

http://www.intell...kly.aspx
Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (1) Aug 02, 2012
Way to late, and way too little.

"By the way it did rain. Green is 1 to 8 inches in the last week." - ParkerTard

"Half of US counties now considered disaster areas"

http://news.yahoo...921.html

High Resolution Climate models have for years now, been showing that the U.S. grain belt is destined to be a desert due to changes in weather patterns caused by Global Warming.

Americans have allowed paid apologists for the Carbon Industry like RyggTard to lie to them for years.

The result is greater poverty for the American people.

Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (1) Aug 02, 2012
In fact humans have been dying of natural causes for thousands of years, hence murder is impossible.

"In fact humans had nothing to do with megadroughts in the past" - RyggTard
NotParker
2.3 / 5 (6) Aug 02, 2012
Way to late, and way too little.

"By the way it did rain. Green is 1 to 8 inches in the last week."


Droughts are normal. Short ones are preferable.

Rain ends droughts. It is raining.

The dust bowl was 11 years long.

The 50s drought was 10 years long with a short respite.

This drought is ONE YEAR LONG.

http://www.ncdc.n...mp;div=0

It rained. Why so bitter the drought may end?

http://www.intell...kly.aspx

Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (1) Aug 02, 2012
Yes. This is what Global Warming Denialists have in store for America over the next 400 years.

"Imagine 300 years of drought in Nebraska, far worse than the dustbowl 1930s." - RyggTard
Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (1) Aug 02, 2012
RyggTard's own data destroys his own claim...

http://www.ncdc.n...mp;div=0

"This drought is ONE YEAR LONG." = RyggTard/sunshinehours1
NotParker
2.3 / 5 (6) Aug 02, 2012
RyggTard's own data destroys his own claim...

http://www.ncdc.n...mp;div=0

"This drought is ONE YEAR LONG." = RyggTard/sunshinehours1


Ok , 2 years in some states. One year nationally. But not 11 years.

You keep failing to understand how bad it was in the 1930s and all you AGW clowns look extra stupid by trying to make this the biggest drought of all time ... when it clearly isn't.
kochevnik
3.7 / 5 (6) Aug 02, 2012
You keep failing to understand how bad it was in the 1930s and all you AGW clowns look extra stupid by trying to make this the biggest drought of all time ... when it clearly isn't.
US dustbowl was a lack of conservation efforts, e.g. plowing rows against the wind, crop rotation, introducing pasture, storing water, planting wind breaking trees.

Yet now conservation efforts are not enough to stymy the destruction of US heartland.
Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (1) Aug 02, 2012
North Carolina has already suffered through 10 years of drought.

ParkerTard's own data contradicts his own cherry picked data.

http://www.ncdc.n...mp;div=0
ryggesogn2
2.3 / 5 (6) Aug 02, 2012
"The 1930s drought was longer and more extensive than any drought in the last 300 years, but around A.D. 200 some parts of North America experienced drought conditions for several decades. "
http://www.living..._01.html

There WAS a drought in the 30s.
NotParker
2.3 / 5 (6) Aug 02, 2012
North Carolina has already suffered through 10 years of drought.

ParkerTard's own data contradicts his own cherry picked data.

http://www.ncdc.n...mp;div=0


Nope.

2010, 0.52
2011,-2.11
2012,-2.01
NotParker
2.1 / 5 (7) Aug 02, 2012
You keep failing to understand how bad it was in the 1930s and all you AGW clowns look extra stupid by trying to make this the biggest drought of all time ... when it clearly isn't.
US dustbowl was a lack of conservation efforts, e.g. plowing rows against the wind, crop rotation, introducing pasture, storing water, planting wind breaking trees.

Yet now conservation efforts are not enough to stymy the destruction of US heartland.


Blaming farmers is a sick trick the AGW crowd tries.

Rainfall was way lower.

It has been pretty wet from 1990 on.

The last 12 months nationally averaged 3 more inches of rain than the same period in 1931.

http://www.ncdc.n...mp;div=0

You cult members should quit beclowning yourselves.
Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (1) Aug 02, 2012
13 years of severe drought in North Carolina.

http://www.ncdc.n...mp;div=0

"Ok , 2 years in some states. One year nationally. But not 11 years." - ParkerTard

Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (1) Aug 02, 2012
That was written before the current drought manifested.

"The 1930s drought was longer and more extensive than any drought in the last 300 years" - Ryggtard

13 years of severe drought in North Carolina.

http://www.ncdc.n...mp;div=0
Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (2) Aug 02, 2012
PDI (Larger numbers = more rain)

North Carolina

2012 -2
1929 2.87 < wet

Arkansas
2012 -2.58
1935 2.51 < wet

Arizona
2012 -3.94
1933 2.3 < wet
1937 2.67 < wet

Meanwhile ParkerTard posts unattributed nonsense.

"2010, 0.52
2011,-2.11
2012,-2.01" = ParkerTard

ParkerTard is suffering from a mental disease.
Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (2) Aug 02, 2012
"Rainfall was way lower." = ParkerTard

Nope

North Carolina
2012 -2
1929 2.87 < wet

Arkansas
2012 -2.58
1935 2.51 < wet

Arizona
2012 -3.94
1933 2.3 < wet
1937 2.67 < wet

Not even ParkerTard's own data source agrees with him.

http://www.ncdc.n...mp;div=0

He is mentally diseased.
Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (1) Aug 02, 2012
No rain here.

http://www.ncdc.n...mp;div=7

"The last 12 months nationally averaged 3 more inches of rain" - ParkerTard
Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (1) Aug 02, 2012
Denialist UbVontard insists that in 50 years, wheat will be growing in abundance here...

http://dominionpa...ield.jpg
http://media.web....F905.jpg
http://www.canoen...CK_1.jpg

http://www.taos-t...0564.JPG

despite the fact that there is virtually no soil to support such farming.

What do you have to say about your fellow denialist Retard, Ryggtard?

"Can't wheat be grown anywhere else in the world?" - RyggTard
TheGhostofOtto_Loves_RitchieGuy
1.8 / 5 (5) Aug 02, 2012
This whole thing is George W. Bush's fault. If he spent money on them Injun fellas to do the rain dance, thier wouldn't be no droughts. Never ever. He's the one what did it. It ain't Obama's fault, I tell ya.
TheGhostofOtto_Loves_RitchieGuy
1 / 5 (5) Aug 02, 2012
http://www.resist...rror.htm
Gotta wonder why those White farmers in Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) wanted to stay in that country even while the Blacks were roaming each farm and town killing them and raping the White women. If it was me, I would've said "wtf. . .I'm getting the hell out of here". But they hung on and now they're dead unless they had the sense to leave. What that country needed was a bunch of Liberal Socialists/atheists to control the savages.
TheGhostofOtto_Loves_RitchieGuy
1.8 / 5 (5) Aug 02, 2012
Plenty of rain here in central Florida
This story from 2009: Zimbabwean White Africans lose their land.
http://www.guardi...umentary

This from 2011
http://www.dailym...7bn.html
Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (2) Aug 03, 2012
Isn't central Florida pretty much surrounded by a nice, wet, sub-tropical Ocean?

"Plenty of rain here in central Florida" - Otto
TheGhostofOtto_Loves_RitchieGuy
1 / 5 (4) Aug 04, 2012
I'm just visiting here. I'll be going home soon. Too humid in Florida.
Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (1) Aug 04, 2012
I've never been to Florida. Don't care to go. To many cowardly cuban expats looking for a handout and too much violence.
djr
5 / 5 (1) Aug 06, 2012
"What that country needed was a bunch of Liberal Socialists/atheists to control the savages."

Wow - comments on a science web site - pining for the good old days of colonialism. I mean sure - we Brits killed a few wogs in the process - but we increased their gdp - and knew how to up the productivity of a few slaves. Hard to understand why they were not grateful to us...