News / USA

Midwest Farmers Battling Worst US Drought in Generation

Midwest Farmers Battling Worst Drought in Generationi
|| 0:00:00
X
Kane Farabaugh
July 17, 2012 5:03 PM
Record high temperatures and a lack of rainfall are creating the worst drought conditions for U.S. farmers in a generation. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared more than 1000 counties in 26 states natural disaster areas as crops there deteriorate. VOA's Kane Farabaugh has more from Illinois, one of the hardest-hit states.
Kane Farabaugh
BLOOMINGTON, Illinois — Record high temperatures and a lack of rainfall are creating the worst drought conditions for U.S. farmers in a generation.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared more than 1,000 counties in 26 states natural disaster areas as crops there deteriorate.

In this year's record setting heat under the hot summer sun, McLean County Illinois farmer Matt Hughes' crops are wilting.

Each day without rainclouds brings new disappointment and worry for Hughes.

"The crop I planted right now - I have more invested in this crop than any other crop in my life," he said.

Hughes says that's because with commodity prices at all-time highs, so is the cost of seed and fertilizer.

Now, he's watching his potential profits evaporate.

"This is the one year that can make or break a lot of farmers," added Hughes.

Farmers in Illinois, one of the top corn and soybean producing states in the country, are facing the worst drought conditions in decades.

Part of the corn crop in southern Illinois is already beyond salvage, and the problem is spreading, says Illinois Farm Bureau president Philip Nelson.

"I will tell you from north to south and east to west, this corn crop is in severe trouble and in dire need of a healthy amount of rainfall," Nelson noted.

June was one of the driest months on record in many parts of the country, depriving corn stalks of much needed water during pollination.

"We've got over 50 percent of the corn crop in Illinois that's in poor or very poor condition. There are only two states worse than that by the statistics service and that's Missouri and Kentucky," Nelson added.

Nelson says the poor crop has a ripple effect on other farmers throughout the country.

"The pork is the biggest user of soybean products.  Corn, its biggest user is beef cattle.  So with all due respect, everybody keeps an eye on what type of crop you are raising because it really affects the bottom line of livestock producers in this state," said Nelson.

Whatever the bottom line is for Matt Hughes is now beyond his control.

"This is the most productive ground in the world, it's not like I'm going to make a choice to not produce it because I think we're going to have a drought.  We produce it, and we take what we can get," said Hughes.

What Hughes is not getting is help from meteorologists.  They only predict a few scattered showers in the coming weeks.

You May Like

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid