Unless we’ve been in a cave or in outer space for the past few weeks, we are all aware of the severe drought that has been plaguing the Midwest. Actually, you can see its effects from space:
This is the worst drought since 1988 and may go on record for causing the worst economic and social effects since the infamous 1930s “Dustbowl”. It may take years to recover as a nation, but many small & medium size farms may not survive it.
The USDA is issuing weekly updates …
It’s estimated that this current drought is affecting over 68% of farmland and over 80% of essential crops in those areas, especially corn, hay, soya beans, etc. And the effects will be felt across the nation with rising food prices and a strained federal budget to try and offset some of the losses. Thank God for crop insurance! Payouts from this year’s drought are expected to set record levels. Unfortunately, livestock producers and dairy farmers have no such safety net. Various government levels have tried to open up reserve land for grazing, water-sharing programs, meat buying programs, etc. but it is a drop in the bucket. Clean water and grazing lands are becoming scarce and feed corn and hay have doubled in price since 2010.
While the debate rages on about whether global warming is the cause or whether this is just one of earth’s cycles of change and the while the policy makers on Capitol Hill bicker about their partisan lobby interests, farmers and ranchers struggle to survive, waiting for the much anticipated Farm Bill to finally become law. It may be too late or not enough for some. These dedicated, hearty individuals are used to struggle and adversity and being dependent on Mother Nature. But they don’t like to depend on any level government. Emergency drought legislation would surely help right now.
Meanwhile, more and more farmers and ranchers are taking to the internet and social media to stay connected, updated, and to network with others, sharing stories, ideas, and recommendations. In fact, they have their own hashtag on Twitter: #drought12.
Yes, this has been and will continue to be a very tough year for those dear folks. Next to oxygen and water, they are responsible for the most important ingredient for our life – FOOD! We are grateful for their dedication, hard work and pioneer spirit and are proud to be a part of their operations.
Let’s all offer them whatever support we can and pray for them.
Following are some links of interest to this ongoing story. There are many more.