Lest you think you’re the only one suffering from severe drought conditions this year, you should know that about half of the country feels your pain, and soon increased costs in the marketplace are going to affect us all.
For the home gardener, drought conditions are a nuisance, but a manageable one. For large scale farmers, the problem is a much bigger one. More than half of all counties in the United States have been designated as disaster zones by the Department of Agriculture because of the severe drought conditions and sadly it does not look as though there is much relief in sight. To get a better idea of just how widespread the problem is, an additional 218 counties in 12 states were added to the list just last week.
One USDA economist called this the most severe drought in 25 years, as well as the most expensive. Three-quarters of the cattle land in the United States is in a drought-stricken area. 37% of the soybean crops have been rated as very poor or poor, along with nearly half of all corn crops. the excessive heat and drought couldn’t have come at a worse time for corn as it coincided with the growth period in which pollination occurs. This greatly diminishes kernel formation and results in poor production overall.
If you don’t think that has much of an impact, you must remember that corn is a key ingredient in commercial cattle feed, which means that the cost of meat and dairy products is going to rise as a result of this extended drought.
Beyond that, you should be aware that as much as 75% of all commercially available food in this country contains corn in some form, therefore the cost of many food items is going to rise as well. the USDA reports that costs could increase by as much as 4.5% next year.
more info: U.S. Drought Monitor