Definition: Drought

Drought– a period of dryness especially when prolonged; specifically: one that causes extensive damage to crops or prevents their successful growth. 

If there was one word to describe the Midwestern summer of 2012, it’s drought. Everywhere I drive in Missouri the corn is dried to a crisp.

These soybean plants near St. Charles, Mo., looked alright from afar, but up close were  d-r-y.

Missouri is under a state of emergency with “97 of 114” counties in severe drought. Unfortunately that includes my home county, and St. Charles county (the beans above).

Check out how the drought is impacting other states with the U.S. drought monitor.

The crops aren’t the only thing that’s dry. Think about your lawn or other growing fields of grass. Cows don’t have anything to graze on. So farmers (including my family) are selling cattle to make up for crop they have lost to the extreme heat and minimal rain.

Harvest Public Media says so many farmers are selling cattle that some media outlets are declaring this a “Cowpocalypse” (which should actually be an Agri-Word now that I think about it). “The largest ever-drop in livestock herds.”

Luckily, crop insurance might pad that financial loss for farms. However, farms like mine might be lucky enough to break even.

And as the green grass diminishes, the market prices for these crops are increasing.

How large of a boost in prices?

According to Successful Farming, if crops are considered in the severe drought category: corn prices will reach: $ 7.50/bushel. Soybean prices: $17.25/bushel. Whoa. Talk about sky-high prices.

Not a great year for crop and livestock farmers. It’s not even a good year to run barefoot in the green, green (ok, brown and crunchy) grass.

Why should non-farm folk care? Food prices are going to be significantly higher in 2013.

Therefore, this drought has an impact on us all. No rain will save the crops this year. All we can do is hope for the best, and remain optimistic. But hey, isn’t that what farming and agriculture is all about?


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