Cool Temperatures Bring Little Relief

Falling temperatures across the Midwest have brought little relief to farmers suffering from the worst drought in recent memory. Despite the end of summer heatwaves, the continuing lack of rain has worsened drought condition in many regions, leaving some farmers in worse condition than they were when temperatures were in the low 100s.

The current drought, one of the worst the country has seen in more than 50 years, is hitting farmers hard. More than two-thirds of the nation is experiencing some form of drought, with one-third experiencing severe to extreme drought. The severe weather comes at a bad time for American farmers, who had hoped to raise the largest corn crop in 80 years this summer, but instead saw their crops wither in the face extreme weather.

While most Americans are rejoicing at the falling temperatures (the first six months of 2012 were the hottest on record in more than a century), they are bringing little relief to farmers across the country. The lack of rain means that the drought is going to continue and, in many areas, will get worse.

The U.S. Drought Monitor is already predicting an expansion of the drought in major Corn Belt agricultural states. Iowa, for example, saw areas of extreme or severe drought increase by 5 percent. Illinois saw an increase of extreme or exceptional drought of 17 percent, raising the figure to a staggering 96.72 percent of the state experiencing the worst drought conditions listed by the Monitor.

Farmers are planning to start their summer corn harvest (what little is left of their crop), hoping to salvage what they can from the situation. While some rain is expected in the Plains states next week, it will come far too late to save the region’s devastated crops.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer