January 23, 2018

Drought Intensifies, Drives Up Food Prices

Drought conditions continue worsen through the central plains states. While farmers have been dealing for months with the impact of little or no rain, consumers will begin feeling the impact by the end of the month.

More than three quarters of the contiguous US is now experiencing some kind of drought, compared with about 43 percent during the same week last year, according to the US Drought Monitor. The winter wheat crop is at a record low and it’s the smallest corn harvest in six years. Corn is used as feed for livestock and as an ingredient in many foods. A shortage of the crop will drive up meat and grocery prices.

Over the last week, more of Kansas was downgraded to the worst drought category, Exceptional Drought. A tiny portion in the southeastern part of the state is the only part of Kansas that is not in the worst drought category and that corner is experiencing extreme drought.  About 82 percent of pastures in Kansas have been rated poor or very poor and about 85 percent in Colorado have been.

Conditions also worsened over the last week in Minnesota and South Dakota, where large swaths of central and northeastern South Dakota and parts of central and southern Minnesota were downgraded on the drought scale.

The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced by The National Drought Mitigation Center and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the US Department of Agriculture and drought observers nationwide.

 

 

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